The words did not remind me of a funeral, funnily enough – they reminded me more of a wedding.  I suppose the resonance of ‘bide’ with ‘bride’ helped.


A bride with me.  A long-lasting commitment between two people to each other in the sight of God: intrinsic with ‘abide’: the real word that the famous hymn used.  A hymn commonly sung at the F.A. Cup Final in an ancient Wembley, its towers symbolising patriotism as well as nostalgia.


But at a funeral there was only one commitment in the face of God. A commitment by the body in the coffin, its bones broken to fit.  But that person, as symbolised by that body in the coffin, was already gone, its life spent, its commitment perhaps already made at the point of earlier death.  These are thoughts about him that went through my mind when I re-heard the hymn.  Thoughts about him when I only thought about the hymn to write this.


Long before that there had been stories concocted between me and him: a book of stories entitled ‘Only Connect’, a collection of dissimilar plots and words and styles and attitudes and other indefinable qualities between two dissimilar people, radically dissimilar people despite being father and son, yet connected by fictions that they had written and blended together when both had been alive, and not just one of them alive.


Yet if this were a ghost story, a fiction in itself, then maybe, just maybe, a collaboration would still be possible, a true resonant ‘connect’ via the original ‘Only Connect’: via the veil: a blurred area overlapping life with death.  But fiction is fiction, it can never be real, however based upon reality it seems to be.


Mum and Dad.  Bride and Bridegroom on that day in 1945, now divorced by death.  Then in a 1970, a new Bride and Bridegroom, thee and me, as yet undivided by time’s slicing blow.  Yet we are all groomed for death.  A death that we all pray is yet another fiction.  A disconnect between truth and plot.


I heard the distant cheering before the throng fell eventually silent for a full-throated hymn to sound out across the rooftops and then into our own distant room via the wire sculpture on the chimney. Then silence as yet another fiction fell into place with its inevitable ending.



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