From 'My Last Will'
By Walter Raleigh
When I am safely laid away,
Out of work and out of play,
Sheltered by the kindly ground
From the world of sight and sound,
One or two of those I leave
Will remember me and grieve.
Take the good that life can give
For the time you have to live.
Friends of yours and friends of mine
Surely will not let you pine.
If the Fates are kind to you,
Some will stay to see you through.
When at heart you shall be sad,
Pondering the joys we had,
Listen and keep very still.
If the lowing from the hill
Or the tolling of a bell
Do not serve to break the spell,
Listen; you may be allowed
To hear my laughter from a cloud.
An excerpt from a poem not by the Walter Raleigh to whom it is often credited, the knight and statesman, but this one (you can read the full poem at the link, too).
Cheryl asked me if I knew any appropriate poems for a funeral, so I sent her a bunch ranging from Shakespeare to Tagore to Frye, and she asked if I'd read the one above at her husband's memorial service, which of course I was happy to do. It was a lovely service -- the minister had known her husband since he was very young, four of his friends who had known him for many decades spoke, his cousin who once worked in his comic store played guitar and sang. There was lots of laughter and irreverence -- a former employee came in a Wonder Woman outfit, the pianist played the Superman theme, everyone discussed all the ways in which Cheryl's husband was a superhero.
We also got to meet her wonderful parents and extended family, whom I've been hearing about for a long time, plus lots of her husband's friends who have been amazing through his illness (one of them took us out to dinner Sunday night), and I got to catch up with some mutual friends who came to the service. The ladies of the church made lunch for everyone afterward downstairs in the fellowship hall (this is the same church where Cheryl got married) so we got to talk to a lot of the people we'd met the day before at the funeral home. Late in the afternoon I gave Cheryl one more big hug and we drove home to find and feed younger son and the cats. I'm pretty fried, so more tomorrow.