No pictures from Barcelona - they will have to wait a week.
For a woman I've known since I was a small child died while I was away. She was very old, and frail, and had made no secret of her wish to put living behind her.
I would love to write about her. But she believed that the internet was the sperm of the devil and if she is looking down (or up) from wherever she is now she would curse me forever. (Actually, I have no belief in an afterlife. But I shall respect her feelings after her death as I did when she was alive.)
Nevertheless, it has rocked me. Her death was expected. Dying is what happens when people are old and frail. It's as much part of life as birth. The whole cycle of existence is predicated on people dying, to make room for all the new people being born. That's how it works.
And yet - in spite of all that common sense - it's hard to adjust to the loss of someone who has been a part of life for so long. One minute she's here and then - poof - no more. A shocking not-being. Just the detritus of her living (she was a frugal woman, I'll tell you that much), and memories.
But then I reflect. These adjustment times are necessary. However much this was expected, it is right that I take time to hold her in mind - she was part of me for so long I can't just close a door on her. I must let her linger in my thinking - in an absorbing, almost obsessive way - until this feeling of dislocation passes and I can rethink my world without her.
Somewhere, as she slipped away, a baby was born. His or her family will be equally obsessed - babies take up far more thinking space than one can possibly envisage. Family stories are founded here. For babies, too, need to be held in mind - the prerequisite for the love they need to flourish. Gradually the obsessions lessen and family life takes shape.
And so, at the end - as at the beginning - of life, when we are unable to care for, or even think about, ourselves, we need others to do it for us.
In the meantime, S, I shall miss you.