Penultimate

p214: “This page left intentionally blank.”

Autobiographies are a bit of a puzzle to me. Taking time to pause and reflect seems a valuable activity, and one that more of us (by which I mean “I”) could benefit from performing on a regular basis.

An annual check-up, mentally, spiritually, soulfully; a chance to grow and learn from the previous 12 months. It must be almost time for the children to go back to school, because I tend to feel like this at about that time of year. It’s all about new starts, new teachers, new lessons, new timetables, new books, new TV series, new clothes in the shops, new shoes, new bags, new pencil cases, new weather, new bedtime…

Writing an autobiography can be a chance to pause and reflect, but the frustrating thing is that it has no ending. That can’t be written by me, only by another. They will never really know how I felt or what I thought or what it was actually like at the end; we all only get one chance at that, no more, no less. They can only surmise, hopefully on the basis of having known me well.

So my autobiography ends with a page left for someone else, should they feel the urge, to finish. I’m pretty sure that I can compress the rest of my life into 213 pages. Not because it is especially long or short or dull or exciting (I don’t know if 213 pages is a long or short autobiography really), but because we manage to put epitaphs on headstones to encapsulate a life, so surely we can manage with 213 pages, even if there are lots of pictures. And because I may or may not ramble and may or may not like to use pictures, any notional autobiography I may or may not have written so far may or may not be more than 213 pages.

Page 215 is, of course, the order of service for the wake.

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