We cremated my grandfather yesterday at 1.30 at the local crematorium. The place is surrounded by woodland and though beautiful is perishing cold at any time of year let alone in the middle of December.
I hope the service was what he would have wanted. Aside from a few favourite hymns there were few instructions. We had Jona Lewie’s “Stop The Cavalry” played at the start and end of service which raised a few smiles. It was one of his favourite records and we all have memories of him playing it constantly, much to my Nan’s annoyance, while he beefed up the percussion by striking a glass with a knife or a spoon. I have very vivid memories of him singing along to the “dub-a-dub-a-dum-dum” parts in a voice that strove joyously to be completely out of tune and atonal. Entirely deliberate one suspects from a man who sang in the church choir as a young boy.
What can one say about funerals? Other than to say they get more sad with each one you go to and each new one you go to reminds you of all those that have gone before...
It was sad. Very sad. But it was good to be together as a family. The New Year will bring some hard challenges as we all pull together to sort through the remains of my grandparent’s lives together – the house and possessions need to be attributed and sold. It isn’t going to be easy. And the solicitors are being harshly efficient. My sister had an estate agent ring her on the morning of the funeral wanting to arrange a viewing of the house so that it can be valued.
Wisely she told them to wait until the New Year. I realize there is a lull in the housing market at this time of year and the estate agents are kicking their heels but even so... a bit of tact wouldn’t have gone amiss.
We gathered in a local pub afterwards and said goodbye to the old patriarch the old fashioned way. He would have approved, I’m sure.
Wherever he is now I hope he is happy. And I hope he knows he is still loved.
As are all those who have gone before, all those who populate the many happy Christmases of my childhood. So many people who I now can no longer touch but who yet touch me still.
A very Merry Christmas to you all. I hope it is spent in the company of loved ones whose closeness to you, you will treasure.
The best memories of all are made of this.