In an idle moment yesterday I discovered that my newsreader in Kent still has Rec.Arts.SF.Written in it, a newsgroup I'd _love_ to regularly read, if only I had the extra couple of hours in my day to read its 500-odd posts.
I had a quick scroll through it, browsed a couple of interesting discussions and was heinously amused to discover that the level of debate was still sinking to the same stage it had been when I was last there - one thread being titled Why Idiots Worship Imaginary Beings Called "God". Even back in the old days I'd have skipped over that one - I may well agree with the basic sentiment, but the chances of _anything_ informative following that title is millions to one...
Funeral's over. The event itself didn't do a lot for me - I avoid funerals wherever possible and ones that include a fair bit of christianity turn me off almost entirely. But it's all part of the process and I wanted to be there for solidarity with Dad, who has after all just lost his mother.
Afterwards everyone went to the house my grandmother lived in. That was _strange_. It seemed very wrong without her in it. Her chair was sitting there in the corner - I discussed it with Mum and neither of us could even imagine sitting in it. I walked into the back garden and thought about all the changes that had happened there since I first played in it. She'd lived there since I was 13 - I don't even remember the place she lived before. There's a bed in the annex where I read The HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy for the first time. There are the trees I chased my brothers around (although some of them are now gone). There is a tree that I remember being planted - now twice my height. The greenhouse where she used to grow tomatoes.
I chatted to various uncles, aunts and cousins, never feeling comfortable or part of anything. When people slowly started to drift off towards their cars I spent a few minutes standing in the garden, alone, just feeling all the time I spent there, all the memories I had built up. It's probably the last time I'll be there. I rarely think of it in normal life and I'll probably slowly forget about it, but right now it seems so wierd that something that had been in my life so long could just end.
One of the things it's really made me think about was the thought of my father or mother dying, which was frankly fairly terrifying. I don't see them that often, or talk to them more than once a week or so. But I've realised that they're embedded deeply into my life - a rock I depend on so deeply that it's easy to forget they're there - like not being aware that the ground is there until there's a possibility that it might not be.
I think I'm going to go and spend some time with them now.