I have noticed a number of bloggers taking breaks. Sometimes personal issues need to be resolved, sometimes inspiration has dried up, sometimes other matters are taking precedence. Is it seasonal, I wonder? Will everyone spring back to full strength and output once the year has worn on a little more?
This time last week Barry and I attended the funeral of someone we had known for more than forty years. Our friend’s daughters had tried very hard to make her funeral a celebration of her life.
The ceremony got off to a bad start. When the vicar pushed the button to start the music for the hymn nothing happened and he had to wander off to attend to it. We then attempted to sing, ‘All things bright and beautiful’ but there was no choir and our voices were too thin. The men managed to make a contribution but the women’s voices wavered and failed. Towards the end of the service the vicar, having got a couple of names and relationships wrong and failing badly in his attempts at making light, then told us we were going to do something very unusual. Time was running short so we were to leave the chapel after paying our respects and finish the service outside. Naturally, by the time the last of the mourners had joined the rest of the congregation, the ceremony was almost over and some of the intended parts had been omitted. Luckily the rain held off for that brief period.
Funerals are grisly affairs – everyone dreads them but everyone goes to them because they are for the living, not the dead. Fifteen years earlier we had attended the funeral of our friend’s husband, a man Barry had known since they were both sixteen. It was odd to see the same faces, fifteen years older, at last week’s funeral. Some people had barely changed. In fact, some looked better. Others were showing clearer signs of ageing – more lines, more/less weight, less mobility – but the saddest were those who were clearly struggling with memory loss, fumbling gallantly for words, a slightly desperate expression in their eyes. These lapses could not be passed off as absentmindedness.
Funerals are wonderful for concentrating the mind on one’s own mortality. I have not yet reached the stage of planning my own but my present inclination (and for some years past) is that my mortal remains should be disposed of without ceremony, decently, under a tree, perhaps, and my family go off somewhere congenial to celebrate with a crate of champagne. (Hurrah, she's gone at last . . . J)
Perhaps that’s unfair – perhaps we need to observe the rituals, whatever they may be, according to our beliefs or lack of them. Perhaps that’s the only way we can say our farewells and begin to absorb the fact of death. Whatever, and after all, I shall have no say in it after I’ve gone (though plenty before!!) I do not wish to have any singing from the congregation and if anyone says, ‘She was always there for us,’ I shall haunt them till their dying days.
I think I want to go out to this . . . It’s for the chorus, really;-)