Two hundred words two years later

I’d just been to a talk and was trying to decide whether to stay for drinks. I noticed a missed call from a withheld number. Tried ringing the likely caller, but no answer. I decided to go home and wait for them to call again. Later the call came: my dad had died; it was peaceful. I booked a flight and sent emails into work. Next morning, I bought a black tie. I clearly remember arriving at the funeral, walking down the aisle, smiling at cousins and others I hadn’t seen in some time. They looked back with concern, uncertainty. I remembered that this was a funeral. The closed coffin was sitting a little in front me. There’s dad. He’s gone. I could feel the sadness slowly build. The minister described conversations he’d had with dad in the weeks leading up to his death. Dad had requested that we sing his favourite hymn. I felt my face twitching. Floods of tears came in waves. An auntie I hadn’t seen for ages came over to me; we hugged and cried and then said simultaneously, word-for-word, “It’s really good to see you again.” Those few minutes of silence and empathy comforted most.

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