"He'll be fair missed."
My husband was in Inverness when the funeral took place. I did not think it was right to go alone, nor, to tell the truth, did I quite have the courage. And so two days after the funeral we are in the living room where I had several good conversations with her husband and herself. We talk briefly about the last days and reminisce a bit, but that brings too much sadness into the room. We have come to help fill the empty places where her husband used to be. Her daughter arrives and I listen to the stories of growing up on the farm. She lives down south now with her husband. He is in town with friends when we arrive but joins us later.
The grandaughter teeters between curiosity and retreat in the face of so many strange adults. She conquers shyness, at her mother's urging, to come into the room and make a proper greeting and then she hovers within sound but of sight for most of the conversation.
Her son, his father's namesake comes with his wife. He has his father's love of politics. We talk about the war. As with all Scots, he begins tentatively out of respect for my accent but once I make my allegiances clear, he settles into a shared lament over the war and the sad refrain of one hopeless war after another. "Why didn't more people of my generation speak up? We should have remembered," I sadly shake my head. Two young Scots soldiers were coming home in coffins as I offered up this lament.
By now there are no chairs left in her small sitting room. The warm room has gotten even warmer with all the people and the conversation. We are startled to disocver when we leave that it is nearly 11 o'clock. Very late for calling and very late for us to be out, but it has given comfort and chased the silence out of the corners of the room for now.