An edited version of Thomas Lynch’s Tract written for his book The Undertaking - as read by Toby McMillan.
I’d rather it be February. Not that it will matter much to me, nor that I’m a stickler for details. But since you’re asking. I want it cold.
...As for music, suit yourselves. I’ll be out of earshot...
As for poems. Poems might be said. I have friends who are poets. Mind you, they... go on a bit.
As for guilt...it’s much over rated. Here are the facts in the case at hand. I’ve known the love of the ones who have loved me. And I’ve known that they’ve known that I love them too. Everything else, in the end, seems irrelevant.
But if guilt is your thing...forgive yourself. Forgive me.
As for promises, promise yourself you’ll see it till the very end. It won’t take long. Go to the hole in the ground. Stand over it. And be cold. But stay until it’s over. Until it’s done.
After the words are finished, lower it. Leave the ropes. Push the dirt in and be done...stamp your feet in the cold, keep looking down. That’s where what is happening is happening. And when you’re done, look up and leave. But not until you’re done.
As for grief...the dreams and sleeplessness, the sadness, the rage. The weeping and the giggling in the wrong places. The catch in your breath at the sound of a name...Whatever’s there to feel, feel it- the riddance, the relief, the fright and freedom, the fear of forgetting, the dull ache of your own mortality.
As for homecoming. Go home in pairs. Get with someone you can trust with tears, with anger and wonderment and utter silence. Get that part done – the sooner the better. The only way round these things is through them.
I know I shouldn’t be going on like this. I’ve had this problem all my life...organising.
But all I really wanted was a witness. To say I was. To say...maybe...I am.
To say, it was a sad day after all. It was a cold, grey day.