Many times we’ve sung a big hymn: Thine be the glory springs to mind now but the list is endless… and I’ve announced that I’m going to have it at my funeral. ‘It’s going to be a long service’ my daughters say, as I make yet another announcement. The fragility of such plans was in my mind this week as I attended a second online funeral. It’s a strange experience. Just 15 masked family members or close friends in attendance and no singing. No comforting touches from more distant friends or near neighbours.
Getting used to such restrictions, and wearing masks in public places, has been strange. Not least with the masks is working out how to avoid the steamed up glasses. This week, a friend said that she felt sad not to see people smiling. But what I have come to realise is that you really can’t hide a true smile just by covering your mouth and nose.
The wrinkles round our eyes are not called laughter lines without reason. A painted on smile sitting beneath cold emotionless eyes is not a smile at all. It can be a sinister reminder of a timeless villain: the child catcher, Hansel and Gretel’s witch, the Bond villain. A masquerade, a deception. Look at my eyes, count the laughter lines. You can usually see that I’m smiling, enjoying your company.
Occasionally I may be exhausted and ready to sleep, in which case I’m really sorry if the smile doesn’t show. You are still very interesting and amusing, but sometimes my sleepy introvert takes over and hides my smile behind the mask.