The Homicide memorial service at St. Martin in the Fields....
Honest, moving, and brutal in parts, this was NOT 'baby jeeeesus' in a manger. (Most of those jesus babes are dead ringers for 'horror Chucky', for my liking.). I went, because I'd supported a mum who's daughter had been shot. AND because I'd nearly managed to erase myself in the past, trying too hard to stay in damaging relationships. Both were some years' ago, but both have given me a determination to be alive, fully, to myself, and not bury bits of myself just to keep the peace. That leads to a living death.
MINCE PIES AND UN-MINCED WORDS
I can 'do' the carols/cute kids in sheets and trips to tinsel town; but too much of that, feels like fast food. Just doesn't satisfy the soul. Not my soul, anyway. The conversations at the St. Martin's do, didn't mince words. 'My mum was shot, I can't forgive'. Said one woman, as we both balanced a mince pie on our coffee saucers. Mine fell on the floor. We laughed, and then she carried on, not missing a beat. 'It's raw every year. Every year I come here. Every year I light that candle, feel better for a bit, and then I don't'.
Not a Christmas church happy clappy ending, then. But SUCH a relief . Perhaps, for both of us. She could be honest about her pain, WITHOUT any pressure to 'cheer up'. And she trusted me enough, to tell me how she really felt. A gift. Bizarre, thought it may seem.
PANTO'S MAGIC WAND, CAN'T FIX IT
There are nasties/horrors/ events, an moments in all our lives, where if we could just wave that pantomime good-fairy wand and make it 'go away', we would. Who WANTS a precious life ripped from us? Who WANTS the subsequent pain to ricochet around our waking moments; bouncing off our body walls, and bringing us to our knees in agony? Not me, not you, I suspect, not anyone.
The hope bit, was there, though. We breathed, we laughed, we sang, we cried, we shook. We looked up with childlike gratitude as red and white petals showered down upon us at the end of the service; bloody human battles mingled with hints of white respite. Red/white/red/white, then red again. Despair/hope/despair/hope then.....a moment of fleeting acceptance, then.........
SMALL RESURRECTIONS PUNCHING THEIR WAY TO US AND THROUGH US
Everyone's grief, is different. Everyone in that church was different. There was little or no pretence. I 'the other', all of us, were enough. As we were. 2016 hasn't exactly been a celebration of human connection. But this, this simple, stumbling memorial service, with all it's broken hearts and broken lives, led me a step closer to the god-self of my understanding. There were slithers of hope, mixed in with the horror of unwanted death. Small resurrections punching their way to us and through us. Blinking in the light like a mole, in Trafalgar Square afterwards, I reflected on the strength that so often comes from such vulnerability. Tears, human connection, and the messiness of my dropped mince pie on the floor had loosened that terminal grip. For just a moment.