Monday, February 08, 2010

Keeping the dream alive

Funerals are funny things. By turns they're devastating, highly emotional, give pause for thought and are hilarious, both intentionally and unintentionally.

The father-in-law's went without a hitch. Everyone's lips were quivering on arrival at the crem, but what did it for me was seeing how many people were there; all the old men in their golf club ties and blazers made me realise that I'd better join an association soon or mourners at my funeral will be severely lacking. He was a very popular man and will be much missed.

The service was lengthy, with hymns and despite him not being an overtly religious man was packed with prayer. I wouldn't have wanted to be the person who's mobile went off. Everyone turned around and glared but the culprit, whoever it was, did a good job of
being nonchalant.

At the reception later endless old bids I'd heard of but never met made a beeline and talked all about their dead husbands. Mother-in-law looked little and bewildered. I heard snippets of conversations along the lines of:

Buck-toothed woman to ex-teacher: Is you wife here?

Ex-teacher: She died 10 years ago.

Buck-toothed woman: No, your current wife...

Ex-teacher: We're no long together. She was doing up a house on the other side of the island and one day she went there and didn't come back.

Buck-toothed woman: Is that Rosemary over there...(darts off)

It all passes the time.

So now life goes on.

It's snowing here.


Ishouldbeworking said...

I have a cartoon by Claire Bretecher, in which a woman who is feeling unappreciated fantasises about killing herself, and about how all her friends will be devastated...she then goes on to fantasise her funeral, but then she imagines her best mate moving in on her grieving boyfriend, and other chums sneaking off early because they have to pick their kids up. In the end she decides to go to the pictures instead of killing herself.

As you so rightly say, funerals are strange, often bittersweet things. I'm glad your father-in-law got the best sort of send-off. Hope Mrs F-C is as Ok as she could be.

Helen said...

I'd come to yours and I mean that in the nicest way possible.
I was at a funeral of a relative recently and was shocked at how emotional I found the whole thing. Of course, I was saddened because someone I loved had died, but it was more than that and I suppose it's probably down to my age and having kids etc, but I was a blubbering wreck which I had promised myself I wouldn't be.

Bright Ambassador said...

I saw my uncle's ex-wife at Mum's. She's my Godmother and I'd not clapped eyes on her in nearly thirty years. Pity she didn't come to the wake as I'd have liked to have asked her for thirty years worth of Christmas and birthday presents.

Mum's church service was packed, nearly 200 I think, which kind of made you proud that Mum had so many friends who wanted to pay their last respects (she was a huge joiner of clubs and societies). I'm also chuffed at the amount of people who donated to MacMillan in her memory, a four figure sum was raised.

Crems aren't very nice places, are they? They just have a pall of death about them, much more than a cemetery, I think. But then I was born and raised over the road from a cemetery so I'm kind of used to them.

Five-Centres said...

Crems are always modern, but by that I mean built within the last 70 years. There's nothing more depressing.

Thanks for your kind words everyone.