Yesterday I went to Malina's funeral. It was one of the most beautiful I have ever been to. The sun rose into azure blue sky and after the usual rush getting children to school, I picked up a Mermaid friend and headed west. We drove past starry yellow gorse and stone towers, crumbling remnants of Cornish tin mines, towards the Lizard peninsula. The service was held at St. Winwaloe, a church that looks like it's been carried by some supernatural force and set down amongst rugged coastline and sand dunes on a whim. A church has been on this site since the fifth century. It's only separated from the beach by Castle Mound, a rocky retaining wall. As you walk into the churchyard, a sign reads: Welcome to the Church of the Storms.
I've only known Malina as a fellow breast cancer patient and Mermaid, so it was wonderful to hear all about her life before we met. Walking away from the church, I left behind my image of her wearing a headscarf and nursing her swollen body. My friend is a talented musician, a pianist and soprano with the gift of perfect-pitch. I can hear Malina and her sister playing Gabriel Fauré's Morceau de Concours and I can see the ornate fifteenth-century woodcarvings, the roof beams, the light pouring in through stained glass. The waves are crashing on the rocks, and the sand martins are calling from the eroding cliffs. I can even hear the sounds from the farm up the road. What a glorious life. Listen.