I remember, in the autumn of 2013, having a really unusual conversation with my grandad. It was a visit like any other, to pop round for a brew (that’s a cup of tea, international friends) and catch up with my grandparents following one of their many holidays to Newcastle Upon-Tyne or Wales. Only this time my grandad was pretty insistent that he wanted to talk about what happened when he was gone. I told him off for being morbid, but he was ever a tenacious man and didn’t back down, telling me that he wanted his funeral to be a happy occasion and to take care of my grandmother when he no longer could.
It was only a year later that he passed, I suspect that, on some level, he knew about his illness back then, but was too proud, or maybe afraid, to tell anyone about his, even his wife of over fifty years. This poem made me think of that day, as in it my grandad tries to explain his outlook on life and death.
The road winds its way and up the hill
And with clear steps life passes on.
As squirrels watch from leafy boughs
They see it come and then it’s gone,
Life is really just a phase of mind
As individual as anyone can be
No two things suffer it the same
People’s eyes, alike, can’t see.
There are two crossroads in our life
One is worry and one carefree,
Some choose worry and get along well
But that is not for me.
I try to lead a happy life
In living in this world
I do my best in all I do
And watch my life unfurl.
So when I’m dead and laid in clay
I’ll not regret my past.
Indeed I’ll laugh if spirits can
As memories my thoughts cast.
Anyway I’ll live to walk with you
And still be going strong,
I can please myself when I go
And rehearse my funeral song.
I beg you in life to learn to love
Others around you, don’t downward shove.
Help those who try, their weakness to stem
And those who have no interest, well pity them.