I went to mass today at the cathedral. I wasn't sure that I could sit through it without crying, and I didn't. What undid me was the gospel, because it was the 'love one another as I have loved you' passage from the gospel of John. Something about it just struck this chord and so I stood there, trying not to lose it completely.
(If I'm discussing my faith a bit more than normal at the moment, I hope you'll excuse me. I don't tend to discuss religion a lot here, but it's been too important a factor in my life for the past few days to leave out any reference to it.)
Maryke's friend Ashley and I came up to the school in the afternoon after classes were finished. Mr Reed organized a small prayer service where there were a few prayers and a reading from Lamentations. I was ok up to a point, but when we walked into the chapel and I saw all Maryke's teachers there, I started crying. I have so many good memories of Stuartholme, and I guess going back there kind of brought forth this flood of memories, and the knowledge that I was coming back in the worst circumstances possible. The teachers came to greet me, and a lot of them were crying as well. I had anticipated that some might be upset, but I could never have guessed the grief that I saw on their faces when I walked in there. Mr Webb in particular, was hit very hard by this. He later said to me that she was, in all his years of teaching, his favourite student.
I spoke a bit about Maryke while I was there, and while it was a terribly difficult situation, I did my best. I think everyone understood what I was saying, anyway. I also had the chance to speak to everyone individually afterwards. Maryke's chemistry teacher Miss Sanderson (I have a feeling that she got married after I left, but I can't for the life of me remember her married name) made me a cup of tea, and I chatted with everyone. It was nice and calming, and I got to remember the happier moments of Maryke's life, particularly at Stuartholme. The teachers told me stories about her that I hadn't heard, and that was a great source of comfort, that there were these all these wonderful memories of her.
The principal Mrs Sinclair and the other chaplain/counsellor Mrs Hardy visited us at home earlier, and we did a lot of talking then as well. Well, I probably listened more. I find that I've talked so much with my parents and Maryke's friends about this, that I'm running out of things to say. So I just listen. They're aware that I've said as much as I can on the subject to them.
My older sister Suzanne and her husband Robert are flying in from Dubai tomorrow, and my sister-in-law will be visiting as well. The funeral's going to be on Wednesday afternoon. Maryke's being laid to rest out in the country in a burial plot where my mother's side of the family are buried. It's going to low-key and discreet, since we all agree that she wouldn't want a fuss made.
I think I'll probably call Rick and Roxanne tomorrow and tell them about this. It's not a matter of me being unprepared to do my presentation and the critique of the other student's work, but more that I think they need to know that I might not be at my best on Thursday. I'm worried that Roxanne will ask me to postpone my talk though, and I don't want that. In any case, I'll discuss it with them and we'll see what happens there.
Again, I appreciate everyone's kind thoughts/words/prayers over the past few days. It's been hugely beneficial to me to read these comments, and I am truly grateful.