So, my father’s funeral has been and gone, as has my curtailed Findhorn retreat and my own same-day 59th birthday.
And while my sibs, my kids (excepting daughter in NZ) and nephews/nieces were there with my steps to see Dad off in Birmingham, for ancient but still important family reasons, my Mum and I needed to remember Thomas quietly in our own way back on his and our old Norfolk home territory.
The Easter Findhorn retreat was place to ponder how this farewell was best done. And while at times turbulent and challenging, it was done well.
A quiet mother-and-son moment of reflection on a father who did his rather limited best, and a bike ride with said mother at 10 days short of her own 82nd birthday across the Heath to a pub supper in Salthouse, and home to Sheringham via a thankfully soft landing in….
…a hedgerow just this side of Weybourne.
What a character.
Findhorn up in Scotland was once again, 15 years after Experience Week there in 1994 turned my life around, magical – especially its sanctuaries such the Troll House, as my former partner
Jutta and I used to call it, also pictured here,
for long, deep, gentle meditations on family and planetary woundings and how they might be faced and healed.
My Dad, born 1921, was of probably the most extraordinary generation the world has ever known – one whose lives spanned a century that took our Earth from largely old-ways sustainability to the point at which our civilisation is beginning terminally to break down.
They had it astonishingly, unprecedently, unconsciously easy.
My father just missed getting killed in the Second World War – he was aboard a landing craft heading to almost certain death in Japanese-occupied Burma when the atomic bombs brought Japan’s surrender.
Then from his Cambridge education in agriculture, a life in farming gave him and his first and second families ever-growing fossil-fuelled prosperity to the point where his relatively peaceful and NHS-orchestrated death of lung cancer at 87 could scarcely have been more gentle, even elegant.
Even if he was unable and unwilling to comprehend to the very end that he was dying. Indeed, his almost last words to me on the phone, 10 days before the end, were that “I somehow just don’t seem to be able to shake this off.”
Our own, next baby-boomer generation born in the 50s may just die peacefully in our beds as he did. Sadly, I doubt whether our children, and certainly our grandchildren, will have that luxury, as all breaks down around us and them.
Death is a time for truth, openness and honesty, sometimes painful, for integrity and also reckoning.
That is as true for humankind and the planet as it is for just one individual and his complex but perhaps finally healing family.