A small band of us met up at King's Cross Thameslink, with notable exception of Taz who, due to breakdown in communications, had gone to Victoria, as originally planned. Just in case, I had my laptop, plane ticket and passport with me. The trip down was pretty cheery, as we remembered all the fun, mostly con-related, memories of Selena. However, as we approached Brighton, I could feel my mood darken, even more so as we got to the gates of the cemetery and then the chapel. I think it was me having to accept the reality and finality of Selena's passing. It was no longer some abstract concept. Even so, it's funny how little details still encroach, like thinking that I had better go to the toilet before the service started.
During the service itself, I found I learned an awful lot from the speakers about Selena I didn't know previously, like just how many siblings she had or that she'd played the trumpet. It did make me wonder, what would I have said if I'd spoken? Probably something similar to my journal recollections, I suspect.
All this did help to lift my spirits a bit but then came the opening of the casket (a biodegradable ecopod, I believe). I can't say I wanted to go up to the casket but I felt I had to, I suppose it was a way to say goodbye. That was the point at which I could feel the tears start to well up. I said a quietly whispered "Goodbye" and, oddly, probably from all our discussions about B5, "Be seeing you" and then sat down again while I still retained some sort of composure.
On the way to the burial site, there was some discussion about having everyone turn up in our best costumes at our funerals. Once there, I stood and watched, unable to look away, as the pallbearers approached and lowered the casket and then took my turn to throw in my shovelful of earth. Again, I guess it was me just trying to accept the finality of it all.
I found the wake afterwards a much more cheerful affair as we settled in to once again remember Selena and, in some cases, get to know each other better. In my case, this included the likes of Simon/Gonzo21, Spintrian and Woe2you. We also agreed we would all have to meet again, under happier circumstances. I also felt a great sense of consolation when Selena's father told me she was very fond of me.
I started back to London about 3.45 with Jackie and Taz. I'd hoped to go home and change first before heading to the airport but it was looking very borderline when we got in so I made my farewells and headed for the Paddington and the Heathrow Express. Just as well, as it turned out...
The flight itself was uneventful - I crashed out almost immediately upon takeoff, woke up again about 4 hours out from KL. My sister and her husband have now also arrived and tomorrow we celebrate their marriage and my mother's Birthday with the extended family. I still feel this deep sense of regret that I didn't get to know a truly wonderful person better or for longer though.