Where shall we meet? 3

(Eleanor bJane Mair, our daughter, died on the 21st April in Ninewells Hospital, as result of trauma caused by alcoholism. She was a beloved and loving person, who cared for everyone except herself, bringing joy through what she was but also sorrow through what she was doing to herself. She is with God.)

To follow the story, read parts 1 and 2

So did you think about your intellectual snobbery?

Yes, and I wondered if all our encounters were going to focus on my faults and failings?

No, we can do mine as well of course

Sounds a bit negative. I don’t want to be intrusive, but I imagined that in ……in…….I imagined that, eh, where you are, things might be more positive…

(She chuckles)

Let’s call it “heaven” seeing that’s familiar to you, as long as you think of a presence rather than a place. And yes, of course, things are “positive” although that suggests they might be otherwise.

I’m not sure if I follow you.

Here, things are as they are, and they are good as they are. The facts are friendly; God is in the facts. So the truth about me or you is never negative, but always joyful, like the truth of the swallows returning every spring.

They are back, yes, I watched them hunting near the beach yesterday…. I don’t suppose you have swallows where you are…

Why not? What would heaven be without animals?

Can I repeat that as a report from the front line, as it were?

The more often the better. But let’s go back to where we can meet, in my defeats and victories, and yours. And seeing you’re still anxious. let’s choose something you would call “positive,” like say, words.

Words! What d’you mean?

One of our earliest meeting places, our love of words…

D’ you remember how you shocked a nice lady from the church by pointing to the “big penis in the sky”?

Because you’d been teaching me basic human anatomy and the names of the planets, and I mixed them up….I suppose I was three or so…

And you loved bedtime books and rhymes and riddles and jokes

And swear words! Appropriate or inappropriate, I loved words and word games, later poems. We used to sit after a meal reading poems to each other, sometimes our favourites, sometimes from a particular anthology….

You always read like a child with emphasis on the rhythm of the poem, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” well not quite as heavy as that.

No point in a tune without its rhythm. As a teenager I found John Donne, and never left him. The mystery of words that seemed to have come from inside one’s skin, words that somehow said me.

I’ve been thinking about him in the past few days, since ……. since you……since….

Since I died, yes, it’s a good word, we can say it…

Since you died I’ve been saying his poem “Death be not proud, though some hath called thee/

Mighty and dreadful for thou art not so/ And soonest our best men” (and women!) “with thee do go,”/

“Rest of their bones and soul’s delivery.” Ach child, is that how it is with you?”


Sometimes I long for it.

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