A funeral of a friend – in retrospect

image_pdfimage_print

I have held off a few days to fully contemplate the passing of a person I have known for 45 years. We journeyed up via Avebury avoiding the M4 and I paid my respects to the ancient stones. In some way I feel they comprise an advanced communication system, otherwise such stones would not be placed in strategic places throughout the world.

The funeral occasion (I will not say ‘service’ for reasons given later) was due to start 2pm but we turned up before 1pm. The body was on view in the living room in a casket. I did not want to see it as I preferred to remember the person as I knew them in life.  There were about a hundred of us. Half of them were a younger generation that I had never seen before never mind knew the name of.  Some others

had not met for 3o years and had difficulty recognizing. Most of the time over sandwiches was spent catching up. It was a jolly occasion with everyone dressed as they normally would. Only one person wore black.

At 2pm the four coffin bearers took the casket to a garden area where an immaculately dressed grave had been dug. Boards were placed over the pit and the casket laid on it. By this time it had been closed.

Anyone who wanted to could say a few words – some said many words – about the life of the deceased and what it had meant to them. This lasted about 30 minutes. Particularly emotional were the youngsters who had looked to the deceased as a role model.  There was praise for his inclusivity – opening his home to all and sundry and doing what he could for everyone.

The casket was them laid to rest with the aid of white ribbons. People then threw pieces of soil down in the grave as a symbol of saying a final good bye.

We then returned to the house for refreshment. There was a marquee in the garden where drinks of all types were waiting. People just helped themselves. I had a couple of glasses of champagne with orange juice.  Later on at about 6pm some Indian food was served. We left about 10 pm after many goodbyes and ‘see you soon’.

As I believe in life after death, or should I say the continuity of life I should mention that when I heard of the passing I felt no sense of loss. It’s like the individual concerned has changed their job or moved up to a higher level to continue their work. I found the same when my own son died at the age of 3. There was a change in atmosphere but no ‘loss’ as such. I have been aware of him being around from time to time. Someone suggested that he may have been instrumental in helping me meet my wife. Who knows.