Friday 30 March 2012


It wouldn't be surprising if funerals were to come to mind from time to time at my interesting age. Well, I find age interesting. I am living with a monkey on my shoulder with a degree of interest which borders on compulsive obsessive. He watches my life as if it were his sole source of nourishment. For all I know it may be. (I can just see the fellow, with his bright, intense eyes, and he is clinging to me as if his life depended on it). I have already planned my funeral with great care. Actually, I planned it some time ago and it may be that the details will need up-dating. Indeed, the nice Welsh minister I had in mind to conduct it has retired and gone to live a long way away. Recently, I attended a funeral other than my own. It was a lady I had met but not really known. One of her sons is a friend of mine; a good friend, a friend in need. When a drain is blocked or the downstairs is flooded, there he is, six foot in all directions and equally strong. (His is, of course, help in addition to the Guru's. In fact, I didn't know how nuch the Guru did for me, outside of Cyberspace, until he moved out and stopped doing it). Anyway, I went in order to support my friend. Before the interment, there was to be a service at the Chapel in the grounds of the cemetery.The day was foul: driving wind and rain and really cold. What's more, finding my way is not what I am best at. Even having, eventually, found a Chapel, I couldnt be sure it was the right one.But, I spotted a group of men and women, each one six foot in all directions and hoped this may be a reliable clue. Indeed, I had stumbled on the right Chapel and was soon being interrogated by the largest and clearly the lead quizzer of the bunch. After a few questions, which I was beginning to find border-line cheeky, I realised I had been mistaken for the lady- friend they knew my friend had recently acquired whom none of his family had yet met. Since he is in his forties, I was seriously flattered. Having clarified my role, we all relaxed and chatted like old acquaintances until the hearse and other family cars arrived.So far, so ordinary.

I found the service touching and effective. Three huge sons, a sister of normal proportions, and assorted relatives I had no way of placing assembled and prayed and sang and listened and gave what had clearly been a good and worthwhile human being a fitting send off. There were no surprises and, in due course, the Minister invited us to bring our cars and follow the hearse to the burial plot which was some distance away. At this juncture, it seemed prudent, having done my duty by friendship, to slip away. No point in exposing another old lady to the vicissitudes of wind, rain and mud when my presence had been noted and my respects paid. Therefore, I took the opportunity to find the door to the Ladies at the back of the Chapel and attend to a need which had become rather urgent given the extended length of my journey there and so on. Duly found, I got on with my business, tidied my weather-blown hair, taking my time, and prepared to leave and drive back home. Dear Reader, to my horror,emerging back in to the Chapel I realised I had been waited for. Hearse, Minister's car, kin cars and kith cars all waiting, just for me. Up there with the most embarrassing moment of my life, it was. Anyway, no hope of retreating for home and a hot bath. Back in my car and meekly follow the procession miles and miles round the cemetery to the interment, like a good girl. Naturally, I was last so last in a long line of cars on a single lane road. It was clear the way out was ahead and around so there I was trapped, hopeless. The shorter version of this sorry tale is that I, following the example of Another, backed down the approach road and managed to get away before the assembly had an opportunity to berate me for holding them all up and what- did- it- matter- what- my- hair- looked -like anyway? I promise to have my funeral on a dry, windless day and I'll forgive you if you miss the actual interment because of Nature's needs. I'm sure my friend's Mother would have, too. Nos da

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Liz,
You manage to make even a funeral full of warmth, light and humour. Of course your friend's mother forgave you - she was probably looking down trying to say - go home, dear, you've done your bit! I'm sure your friend appreciated your presence and also understood your need to go home for a nice cup of tea.
Let's spend as much time as possible with our friends as long as they are alive and well enough to recognise us.