One of the friends at the poetry group died last week after a very short illness. She kept details to herself, but once she was diagnosed with terminal cancer she set her affairs in order
meticulously, making lists and leaving precise instructions.
She refused to have the doctors "mess her about", and refused all treatments which allowed her to live an active life almost to the very end. I saw her at a poetry reading less than a month ago and she was no less cheerful and positive than she'd ever been.
She stipulated that there was to be no fancy funeral, she was to be buried in a cardboard coffin, a truly ecological burial as befits a lifelong environmentalist.
She was a very ordinary woman, or so I thought, but her determination, courage and strength of character make her into an example for us all.
She loved poetry and I think she would have approved of my choice of poem to speed her on her way.
Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
Four though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
1809 - 1892