Dad’s funeral; how do you say goodbye?

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  • On Friday we laid my father’s remains to rest.  Family and friends came together for his funeral so we could celebrate his life and say goodbye.  The pictures in this post express my feelings which combine the artist’s ever watchful eye viewed this time through a glass of sadness and loss.

    I hadn’t intended to take any pictures at the crematorium until I read this Guardian feature for The Mass Observation Project where photographer Martin Parr had tasked people to send in their pictures of funerals.  So with that in mind I took this shot of the funeral that was taking place before my father’s.

    This was not my father's funeral.

    This was not my father’s funeral.

    My father’s death unearthed in me a myriad of complicated feelings about our relationship and going to his funeral was always going to be hard.  After it was over I took a train to the seaside at Walton-the Naze.  Not to eat ice cream and have fun but to walk along the beautiful coastline which features in the children’s novel Secret Water, one of the twelve books Arthur Ransome wrote featuring the adventures of the Swallows and Amazons.  Dad had loved reading to us all twelve when we were children.

    Beach Huts at Walton-on-the Naze

    Beach Huts at Walton-on-the Naze

    After weeks of tropical temperatures and sunshine in the UK, on Friday it decided to rain.  I’d been tracking the forecast since Tuesday but it never wavered and rain and even heavy rain was always predicted.  So dressed in wet weather gear I made this pilgrimage along the Essex coastline.  And there I saw the muted colours that Dad, an artist, had selected for his palette; the dove greys, quiet greens and all shades of brown which featured in his paintings.

    Hamford Water seen from the Naze

    Hamford Water seen from the Naze

    My heart leapt when I saw this view of the boats at Hamford Water where the fictional Walkers and Blackett children spent that summer in Secret Water.  I didn’t think I’d be able to find it.  One walking guide I’d found online said that it would take all day to do the Nature Walk around the Naze.  Would I have time to do it in the five hours I had before my train home?   The official guide provided by the tourist office said it was 3.7 miles so I decided to go for it and by the time I hit the mapped trail I still had four hours left.  The route was beautiful and so wiggly windy that I wonder if it was more than 3.7 miles?  My legs thought so but it only took me two and half hours to complete.

    When I down loaded my photos I was shocked to see I’d taken so many, 204 plus a few on my phone when my memory card was full.  I’ve selected the following 16 to commemorate the day.  I cried when I viewed the final selection because I wish Dad could see them as one artist to another.  I know he’d have approved.

    (to fully appreciate the photos, do view in gallery mode by clicking on anyone to select it)

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  • One thought on “Dad’s funeral; how do you say goodbye?

    1. The photos have a lovely peace and tranquillity to them. They are images to conjure up one’s own passing memories. X Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2013 10:46:03 +0000

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