It was my friend's funeral today. Very large turn-out - so many people wanting to honour her memory. And virtually everyone fulfilled her husband's request to wear her favourite colours - purple and pink - instead of black. It was a very touching tribute, seeing that array, all variations on that colour theme.
Emotionally draining - many, many tears shed. Memories shared, affirming the love in which she was held by so many - and her loss so deeply mourned by those closest to her.
I felt awkward at times, perhaps sensing a perception that I was over-claiming some specialness(although that's probably just my paranoia). But if all I can say is that she was MY best friend (even if I wasn't hers), that's still true, and still sufficient to be special in some subjective sense, even if not objectively - and I feel her loss SO keenly, I cannot begin to get my head and heart around it.
Her family included my contribution in the service which moved me greatly (as a named part on the service sheet - which I really hadn't been expecting) and the officiant read out a much fuller version of the piece I'd written than I'd expected (I had thought they'd just lift a few short extracts). My feelings were a strange mixture - I was anxious that others close to her would resent that contribution - I even tried to sort of apologise at the reception afterwards to the person who was, I know, her closest true best friend, and had been so from early twenties to-date (she herself gave a very lovely personal tribute earlier in the service, speaking on her own behalf, which is incredibly hard to do). My relationship was so separate from hers, and indeed all the other close friends. The other OLD friend (from NI) - who also attended the funeral - perhaps wasn't given as much emphasis in what I'd written as would have been fair. But she chose not to send anything to Tim, and said several times that she didn't think any of her memories from back in our teenage years would have been appropriate or of interest to share. I was very selective myself, but I DID want to give a voice in some small way to the intense closeness we shared back then, albeit leaving out the 'boys, boys, boys' aspect.
While talking about this with my other friend earlier - and specifically that our deceased friend had not seemed to like reminiscing about those days - I realised that she perhaps had only been able to call to mind the more embarassing aspects of her younger self (indeed all our younger selves, and harshly mine in particular),and so had not been able to glimpse the sweeter side of those precious formative 10 years (from age 13 to 23 or so). The anecdote that pained me pains me still, but I think I've gained an acceptance now - I can let it go. That's been part of the emotional journey of today - saying farewell and letting go.
Still feel very sorry for myself though. Lots of work still to do. Might need to think about accessing some proper counselling I think. Not for the bereavement per se, but it has brought other stuff that was already troubling me more into focus.