Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Friday, August 26, 2011

In silence

Her request was that no announcement of death should be made until "I am safely laid away at Mucurap..." However, "should the news leak out, take me to All Saints  in the plainest possible coffin..." Then, "let the priest say the absolute minimum. Let there be NO MUSIC. Ask people to sit quietly for a little while, half hour is quite long enough."

So it was Wednesday, August 24 found me sitting quietly in All Saints (left side front half of the church) full of family, friends and Lydians, thinking about Pat Bishop again, and knowing that she was released. There were two readings of Psalms, and one from Paul's letters to the Corinthians. In between, there were long periods of silence. No one spoke. Tears flowed in silence.

Psalm 39:
I held my tongue and said nothing, and while I was musing the fire kindled: ...
Behold thou hast made my days as it were a span long; and mine age is as nothing in respect of thee; and every man living is altogether vanity.
For man walks in a vain shadow, and disquiets himself in vain: he heaps up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them.

Psalm 90:
The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and though man be so strong that they come to fourscore years; yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so soon it passes away, and we are gone. 
So  teach us to number our days; that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Like many of her sisters who were raised in that school between Abercromby Street and Chancery Lane, Pat struggled with a highly developed sense of duty and responsibility. She fought the idea of failure, battling the mortality of her body - underactive thyroid, bad heart - to make the most of her threescore and ten. "I am tired, it's time to go," she said this to those who were near in the last months.

Someone said, "It's as if I woke up one morning and the Northern Range wasn't there." Too melodramatic!

In the end, I see the fruits of a life lived hard and full, with no need for regret. In the end, I see a wealth of painting, music, her wise words on behalf of many artists, and the influence (by word and touch and deed) in the lives of many. I hear a single message: love who you are, and do the best you can.

Like Bunty said: "...a beautiful thought occurred to me as I was smoothing one of my calabash bowls this morning: when I walk in the forest I sometimes see a scene of devastation where a giant tree has fallen as they eventually do, everything seems to be in ruins. But the sunshine comes pouring in to the space and the little stream finds another way around the debris and best of all, millions of little saplings of all different kinds come struggling upwards with their leaves turned to the light.  I think I will think of Pat like that fallen tree, it gives me great comfort and hope.  Only good things can come from the people who loved and admired her - you will see."

Pat's wish
As she wanted to be remembered

1 comment:

  1. ....this is such a delicate moment, for those who witness the passing away of a family of friend,...for me it always bring to mind the people I have personally known and are already gone,...people you think, who would have be here forever,... it's always a reconfirmation...that for all of us, it's only a temporary stay until your 'task' is done.....

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