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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Wednesday, September 11, 2002
    Holy night?
    No early night tonight; next door there's unusual activity and I can't sleep for it. The old lady, ill for so long, has died, and tonight she's taking visitors for the last time, lying in stillness in her coffin in the front room. The family are spilling out onto the road; passionate conversations spill out with them.

    No silence tonight, too much to clear up before tomorrow's funeral. No stillness tonight, too much emotion to deal with.

    And for once I'm peripheral to all of this. I'm just another neighbour, not the closest, not the best by a long way. Stripped of my usual clerical role, I'm confronted with hard questions about who I can be for them in their grief, if anyone.

    While the old lady sleeps, healed at last, everyone around her is restless.