You may remember I have written about our friends Monique & Michel.
Sadly Michel died on Wednesday, having had a stroke on Sunday morning. It was his funeral today – nothing religious, just a ceremony at the cemetary when family and friends read poems, and spoke about their beloved Michel. Some of his favourite music was played, including “Lady in Red” by Chris de Burgh, and “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel. He was in a plain pine coffin, and before it was laid in the family tomb, we were invited to go up and write a message on the coffin.
Quietly people queued; there were many people there, testament to his popularity in the village – kind, gregarious, funny, lively…he was all these things. People had drawn hearts, or written “Thank You”, “We love you”, “Goodbye”, there was even a “Bon Voyage”! When it was our turn, I drew a dragonfly.
Why a dragonfly?
Well, typical of Michel’s funloving nature, he belonged to a group of “majorettes” called “Les Libellules” (the Dragonflies) – all gentlemen! – who performed (usually slightly inebriated!) at various events.
I found it moving that the rest of the troupe formed a “guard of honour” with their red hats and majorette batons at the entrance to the cemetary, and Michel’s own red hat was placed on the top of the coffin, surrounded by red and white flowers.
He shall be missed.
You can shed tears that they’ve gone, or you can smile that they have lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that they’ll come back, or you can open your eyes and see the memories that they have left you.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see them, or your heart can be full with the love and fun that you’ve shared.
You can turn your back on life yesterday and on life tomorrow, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember them and only that they’ve gone, or you can cherish their memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what they’d want: smile, open your eyes love and go on.