Last week I wrote with huge sadness about the death Amy El-Keria.
This afternoon Ruth, Leftwing Idiot and I went to Amy’s Day. This was how her family had chosen to think of her funeral.
Initially Ruth and I had been worried about attending – we didn’t want our tics to disrupt the service and intrude on her family’s mourning. Amy’s mum allayed these fears by saying that hearing our tics reminded her of her daughter’s tics, and that she’d like us to be there.
The love and respect everyone had for Amy was evident during every moment of the day. Her humour and personality were at the centre of the humanist service. Hundreds of people were there to celebrate the life of a young woman who had a big impact on everyone she met, and everyone wore something in Amy’s favourite colour – blue.
Her older sisters spoke movingly about their love for her, their loss, and all they’d learnt from her. Amy’s mum spoke with incredible strength and clarity. Her love for her daughter was evident in every word and the pain of her grief was heartbreaking to see. Amy’s talents and creativity were celebrated, her poetry was read out, her favourite joke was shared, and her enjoyment of food was warmly remembered.
But it felt so wrong that the life we were there to remember had been so short. The chapel was bursting with love for Amy and it felt shatteringly sad that she wasn’t there to feel it.
I didn’t take flowers – instead I’ve made a donation to Inquest, a charity that provides free advice on the investigation of contentious deaths. I know that Inquest have been supporting Amy’s family as they seek clarity about her final hours. Her loss is a huge tragedy, and to prevent something similar from ever happening again, it’s essential that a thorough and honest investigation is carried out. There are still unanswered questions about the precise circumstances of her death.
Following the funeral, Amy’s friends and family gathered at a nearby hall. Her mum led the toast to her daughter. I feel privileged to have known Amy and to have been part of this day of celebration and thanks for her life.
Rest in peace Amy.