scribbles tagged ‘funeral’

mourning of the funeral

Friday, December 6th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , , , ,  |

Poppy checks funeral detailsDad’s funeral was just right for him. The funeral directors were excellent. A man from the funeral directors in a top hat with a silver-tipped long cane walked in front of the hearse as it approached the crematorium. Something wonderfully reverent, respectful, about this little show. I couldn’t deal with the physical presence of Dad’s body. Being in the same room as the body that no longer hosted the dad I knew was overwhelming. From the moment the hearse pulled out in front of our cortege car I was in full mucus-soaked tears, unable to pull words together.

Despite dearly wanting to say some words at the ceremony, I opted put, unable. I hadn’t anticipated being the blubbiest of the family though I was well prepared with multiple thick white cotton handkerchiefs. Everything went smoothly. The funeral was a very traditional, Christian, event. The archaically expressed Christianity didn’t speak to me, the sentiments and shared respectful kind words were good to hear in the company of so many people who’s lives he’d touched. My brother’s tribute was spot-on, as was Dad’s ex-boss’s.

I didn’t wear a hat (Mum’s request), I didn’t wear black. Mum requested that I wear my new dark-blue tailored suit, she wanted me to look good and talk bout my new job with the guests. Only a couple of people wore hats, they looked good.

I wonder how the funeral process will change over time? Live twitter feeds with hashtags projected on the wall relaying condolences from those who can’t be present? Live camera shot of the coffin moving to the incinerator?

The wake made much more sense than the funeral. It was good for me and I hope for the guests. More emphasis on the wake please.



mourning of the funeral
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morning of the funeral

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |


Portishead, BristolNo-one slept well that night. All awake and dressed before the alarms chimed.

I took mum to the hairdressers and wandered around town trying to think of Christmas,  stay warm, share the apparent normality of the other pedestrians.

No rush, everything sorted, I just wanted to get it over with. I think we all expected the funeral and wake to bring a closure that might release deep sleep and remove what feels like a physical hangover as if mild alcohol poisoning were running through my blood, amplifying noises, emotions and bringing a feeling of physical sickness.

Mum’s hair looked good. Later she showed me dad’s tie collection. Did I want any? I wanted them all, I wanted to look at them and imagine him wearing them, I wanted to tease him about his taste in ties.

Wendy:  “No, I don’t think I’ll wear them and I don’t know anyone who wears ties. That one’s nice

Mum: “It was your dad’s favourite

Ties If mum hasn’t given them to charity by the next time I visit, I think I will take some and wear them. Clearly we have a similar tie-design sensibility…

morning of the funeral
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Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

At the wake, I shadow the widow armed with a fresh cup of tea and a chicken leg from the buffet, it’s her favourite. Since his death she’s barely eaten and is clearly loosing weight rapidly. She needs to eat. The guests line to talk to her, picking up her conversation then moving on.  Whenever she catches my eye I offer her the tea and chicken-leg.  She sounds proud that Mumsie is here:

That’s my family over there, meet my sister.  OH, you’ve met her before, yes, that’s MY FAMILY

After most of the guests have moved-on the widow takes a seat by Mumsie and chatters away to her in an almost ‘hyper’ way. Through the ceremony I’d kept my tears under wraps. Here, listening to the widow, tears start to roll on out.

“I’ve never used a credit card. I wouldn’t know how to use one. What will I do? He paid for everything. He was always there. He knew where my saccharin were kept, he’d have the packet in his hand whenever I had a cup of tea. What will I do?”

She rummaged in her handbag looking for her saccharin tablets. The bag slipped in her hands emptying the contents on the floor.  I was glad of the excuse to get on my hands and knees under the table and pick up the contents for her.

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formal black

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Bull rushesHearses stacked in a line on the glorious Bedminster down awaiting entry to the South Bristol Graveyard and Crematorium.

Mumsie pauses to worry that she wont be able to walk from the car, once parked, to the crematorium.

We’re all respectfully wearing black, long sleeves, long skirts, high necklines. In my Pierre Cardin black trouser-suit with a blue pinstripe I look more like Dad than usual. He looks elegant in black with a white pinstripe. Neither of us wear Lodge ties. I’m the only female wearing trousers.

The room is full of the deceased’s Masonic friends. Elderly males. Sporting their ‘Royal Clarence Masonic Lodge’ ties.  They chat amongst themselves. His extensive family from a previous marriage fill the first few pews. The widow’s sister, my mum, and myself are her only blood relatives present.  At 49, apart from the grand-children,  I look like the youngest attendee.  I keep trying to give my seat to the more frail looking individuals, but they wont take my family member’s seat.

The deceased arrives in the church to Louis Armstrong playing “When the saints go marching in” raising smiles all round as we remember his excellent good humour

formal black
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Goodbye Uncle Vaughan

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

As  a child I thought you peculiar, black hair, white skin, gawky behaviour.

Looking  like the devil’s accountant, talking  like a witty dissident.

Living alone?   Could you be gay?   It didn’t matter either way.

Antique bayonets, guns, swords, stamps, supplied your fun,

the Sunday Times shown  your patience in our  home.

Cryptic crossword skilled, five down quickly filled.

A  place we’ll leave on Christmas eve,

our lounge  chair,  you’re not there,

Goodbye Uncle


The inspiration for this poem should be self-evident.   Don’t worry, normal service will be ressumed after a brief bout of the traditional sadness-ranty-insomnia.

Goodbye Uncle Vaughan
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