my friend scott died last week (as i wrote this; it's two weeks ago now). i say friend although i've not seen him for two years, because i always thought i would. several of us at the funeral hadn't seen him - or each other - since two christmases ago, at a holiday meet up at the governer's in cheadle hulme. i'd just finished purple milk, if i remember correctly, which puts it at 2005, when i was living in manchester (this timeline gets very hard to keep track of).
i was in two minds about going initially. the distance seemed almost too great, until i realised that i just had to go, and then i realised i just couldn't afford to go, and then i realised again that i just had to.
so i went up to manchester last sunday and stayed at my (biological) father's in stockport, and luckily got to see my mum in hospital too, as she'd just had her hip operated on and was fortunately just a couple of villages away from both my father's, and the cemetery.
i might add a tangent about ewan mcgregor's awful 'going south' programme or whatever it's called (actually 'long way down', but 'going south' is a better description). i've never seen anything closer to tvgohome's 'sting cares'. ewan and another 'famous' person ride motor bikes from john o'groats to cape town in 80 days, complaining about how they don't get to stop anywhere. pointless. hateful.
so after i left the hospital, just outside cheadle, and found a bus back to stocky. i wasn't feeling too bad, and i had the best part of an hour or so to hang around the cemeterary before (because you don't want to be late for the ceremony), and it's a nice place, as they often are. not very grand and probably not very many famous people buried their - made me think back to budapest, nearly getting locked in on halloween, the graveyard an inverted skyscape of candles, with the massive monuments to budapestian heroes, those who tried and failed to resist against napolean, the ottomans, the nazis, the soviets... a funny bunch, the hungarians. there was another funeral before scott's - there were bagpipes, cars, and suits. i had time, once i'd been all the way round the cemetary, to leave and get a bottle of water, then come back in. when i did so, i went back to the chapel in the centre and found martin, mark, luke - crikey, i just typed 'and scott', without even thinking. and luke's parents too, who looked the same as ever. matt and dom turned up just as we were queing up to go in, matt sporting some apparently brand new shiny black shoes. i was just wearing smartish wear, what i would describe as 'work smocks' - not something that i would consider particularly respectful to scott, but i would to his family so i wasn't going to argue this time. i did have to call up martin and ask if it was going to be smart wear though. 'do people still do that?' i thought. 'surely that's not our tradition.'
it was an explicitly humanist funeral - did they have to say that? couldn't it just be one, without it having to be pointed out? anyway, luke, martin, scott's mum and his girlfriend jojo all wrote fabulous pieces that the director read out. then the curtains closed and we didn't see the coffin rolling out of sight (?). there's something utterly final about a cremation - someone you love is dead, and instead of trying to preserve them, you destroy the body. i think it really helps the grieving process.
afterwards, we adjourned to the hesketh, right near our old school, and et and drank and reminisced. scott was such a charmer, and one of the funniest people i've ever met. upon meeting, he'd be able to take the piss out of you for something, entirely accurately, and never with a hint of maliciousity. we told our stories, had a laugh, and got on like we always used to. then i got the train back down to london and went to sleep.
the next day was worse i suppose. back at bloody work, and it had really sunk in. i am normally a solidly stoic person, but scott dying was just so completely unfair that i really couldn't help but get genuinely upset.