Have just returned home from the funeral of a relative. In Icelandic we say ‘frændi’ – being a term that covers all male relatives. Similarly, ‘frænka’ covers all female relatives.

He wasn’t a very close relative – he and my father were cousins – but one dear to me nonetheless. When I was small, he lived in the same apartment building as us, and his daughters were my best friends. I then moved abroad, where I lived for over 20 years. Somewhat serendipidously, one of his daughters and I wound up living in the same apartment building again [although a different one from childhood] upon my return to Iceland. I would sometimes run into my ‘frændi’ out on the street in front of the building and he was always warm and enthusiastic, interested in what I was doing and how my life was going. He was a journalist and teacher, and helped me a great deal when I embarked on my journalistic career here in Iceland. He was a kind, gracious man, and he will be missed.

Having spent a good deal of my life ‘away from home’ – growing up and living in other countries, I am repeatedly reminded of the satisfaction of being close to ‘my clan’ – being surrounded by my kin and taking part in the cycle of life, with births, christenings, confirmations, weddings, deaths and funerals as milestones. It is different to what has become the norm in many Western countries, where families are often very scattered and people often become alienated from the heartbeat of their lives.

It’s good.

Beautiful. An appropriate setting for the departure of a very kind man. Brilliant sunshine, some strong winds but that’s OK, life isn’t always filled with calm anyway. Iceland looks beautiful in the sunshine, the colours are so brilliant and the ocean sparkles. It’s 10°C right now and daybreak was at 04.56, nightfall is set for 22.00.