|Fr Dominic Rolls, our youngest brother, at last resting. White roses on his coffin.|
Yesterday and the day before, Father Dominic was honoured and prayed for in style. He lay overnight in his beloved parish church of St Jospeh's in Dorking for a vigil mass before leaving the next day to his funeral mass at Worth Abbey. My mother had seventeen priests on the tiny altar of her most precious church in Petworth, West Sussex. That, we thought, was fab. Mother, we thought, you have made it. Dominic was one of those priests, and we were all so proud of the way he spoke about our mother.
Yesterday, at Worth, at Dominic's own funeral, there were one hundred and twenty priests, a Bishop and a Cardinal. From his joyful place of light and laughter somewhere in another dimension, I like to think that Dom turned round and came back a little closer to all of us to see how wonderful this celebration of his life was. The hymns, the readings and the location was planned, Dom did all that. But what was unplanned was the outpouring of love, gratitude, respect and sadness from those that spoke during the service. I hope Dom was listening. "Ha ha," I can hear him saying as he and mum watched holding hands and laughing, "only seventeen priests? I win!"
|Mum and Dom. Ha ha, I win!|
The A Graceful Dying One Woman Show.
It was never part of the deal to be putting on a one woman show about dying while attending the death of one of my brothers, and helping to arrange his funeral. That was never part of the deal at all.
A Graceful Dying was a long time forming in my mind, and I went up for a few days with Dom in Edinburgh to talk about it with him. If he understood what I wanted to do, then it would be fine. Dom was wise and thoughtful. He told me to be authentic and to follow my heart. And then, because he was Dom, he recorded a tiny piece for me, so that he would be in the show himself.
And now, the A Graceful Dying One Woman Show is nearly ready to be seen. I took Dom's advice and have followed my heart. The show is about how we die, and really, about how I might do it. I have no idea, when my time comes, what I will think or feel, and no idea at all where it will be. All I know is I don't want to go yet. No, not at all. But if I do have to go, at least I will have tried to think about it.
I am very lucky to be working with my dear old friend Tasha Yarker, who I call the boss. She is directing me, and has been able to edit the script with intelligence and vigour. I presented Tasha with a whole book to work with at first, it was so long and complicated. But now, we have everything that I want to say, the stories I want to tell, the images, the films and the music in a show that makes sense to me, that is authentic and has totally followed my heart.
A Graceful Dying will make you think. It is gentle, but honest. There is humour, sadness, reality and resolution. I hope you will think about your life as well as your death, I hope you will be very glad you came to see it.
|Nushi, "Cancer Chic", from the A Graceful Death Exhibition|