No empty seats

September has arrived and next week, I will be granny to a schoolgirl. Yes, I must be getting older too.

Times are changing quickly. Last week, I met my granddaughters, and their mum, on the train. We were heading into Leeds to see the dinosaurs. The train was busy, very busy. It got busier. It was reminiscent of pre-covid commuting days. No announcements on social distancing; just the regular ‘move down the carriage’ and ‘use all the available space’. So very different from the silent journeys of the last year. We’d overlooked the fact that there was a test match at Headingly.

We had a great day out, but made sure to get home early to avoid another crush.

The Friday writers’ group, still meeting by zoom over the summer, will be back together in September. But we also enjoyed an evening out. We were packed into a local church to hear Simon Armitage read from his work. His stories and poems brought laughter, but he also gave a moving tribute to his Dad, who died this year.

He made no apology for talking bluntly of death and dying. He said that he preferred the harsh real words to euphemisms. I was taken back to a memory of a shopping trip with my Gran. ‘I lost my brother’ said the friend. A pre-schooler, with an enquiring mind, I needed to know why she was in Marks and Spencer and not out looking for the missing brother.

Older now, and maybe just a little wiser, I can recognise the pain of loss, but I can’t deny my admiration for the poet laureate’s realism. I will remember it as I do my best to avoid the use of careless empty words to friends in need of comfort.


One thought on “No empty seats

  1. This so reminds me of my Dad – when he heard that someone had ‘lost a loved one’ he would say, with a twinkle in his eye “that was careless”! That was a great evening with Simon 😊


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