My father-in-law died five years ago. During his interment I was standing some distance away from his wife and their adult kids largely because I had the heebyjeebies about looking into the big dark hole that had been dug. It was intended eventually to be a double grave so it was even deeper than normal and in the dark and the pouring rain it wasn’t a comforting sight.
I became aware that there was a very large, turquoise dragonfly flying around my fatherin-law’s immediate family group. It was there for quite some time while the service continued and flew in amongst them, but they seemed completely oblivious, as did the rest of the funeral party. I didn’t mention it because, while I felt very strongly that it was in some way a sign from my fatherin-law, they are staunch left footers and probably would not have liked the idea.
He was a man who had loved the seaside. Three years later, when we moved to live near the sea, we made a little pilgrimage down to the waterfront to celebrate. It was November and not, I should think, the season for dragonflies, but a large turquoise one turned up hovering around my husband. Once again, my husband was oblivious – but this may just be because he is always spectacularly unobservant. Whatever the reason, I didn’t mention it – he doesn’t have much interest in strangeness.