WH Auden was on the right track with his poem “Funeral Blues”
“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.”
Auden’s poem has always moved me and even more so with the passing of my grandfather. He will be missed. His passing has certainly left a void that cannot be filled and this is evident in my grandmother’s sorrow filled eyes. They were married for over 70 years and had 14 children together, 34 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren with a few more on the way.
Loss gives us the opportunity to take a good look at our own lives and puts things into perspective if we let it. We all respond to loss differently and grief comes in many degrees. Some of us deal with loss internally, rarely showing the depth of our sorrow, others cry and scream their loss to the skies.
My grandfather will be missed. His serenading of my grandmother, the love of his life. His sense of humour. His calling you to his side to offer up pearls of wisdom when he was no longer able to walk.
I remember my grandfather’s love for Chuck Norris movies and the News…how important he thought knowing about your surroundings were. His brother recently told me stories of when my grandfather was the best looking and best dressed man in all of Jamaica and how he had the most popular barber shop in Kingston, so popular that you needed a ticket. At the funeral we heard more stories from his eldest and the youngest of his children. Some I had heard before, others were new to me, like how my grandparents met…
I remember my grandfather as a lively and cheerful man who expected well behaved and neat grandchildren. In many ways he was old school, children should be seen and not heard unless you were being directly spoken to. Luckily my grandfather spoke with us often, so silence was rare in my grandparent’s house. I saw first-hand what true love looks like watching my grandparents and saw the hard work it took to stay married and to raise so many children and to provide them with a stable and loving environment…
Barrington Fabian Earle you were loved and you will be missed!