Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Today has been a sad day, today was my grandmother's funeral.
She was fab, I shall miss her very much, we laughed a lot together and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had so much quality time with her in my adult life. My children adored her almost as much as I did.
So, we gathered at the church, a large and sad family. Sons, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends of grandchildren, and children of friends of grandchildren.
The sun shone and it was a lovely service and burial (as lovely as it could be), with tributes read out and some particularly dodgy hymn singing, and although I've cried many tears over losing her, I've decided to highlight the humour of the day, because indeed there always is some, and I could always make my Nan laugh, she loved to hear the ridiculous stories about life at Camp Frog.
I recall making her laugh so suddenly one day that she spat her tablets out..thankfully her teeth stayed in!
As we sat there today I thought about Darling Husband's friend's comments this week. He had been visited by a Jehovah Witness.
JW: Do you know what happens to you after you die?
Friend of DH: Yep, they put you in a box and drop you in a hole in the ground.
JW : Well that's not really what happens
Friend of DH: Well, I've been bearer at many a funeral and I can tell you, that's what happened every time.
The gentleman left, sadly shaking his head, fearing for Darling Husband's friend's soul.
The undertaker arrived and put up the stand at the front of the congregation, on which to stand the casket...We were once at a funeral and the undertaker did the same thing, carefully placing the trestles just so. Darling Husband leaned over and whispered "this really is not the time for putting wallpaper up".
The flowers were stunning and almost everyone wore something lilac because it was Nan's favourite colour.
Shirl was without question engaging in an Oscar winning performance at the graveside, so much so, I have wondered if she's been watching re-runs of Dallas! She had adorned herself in gold sunglasses and fur coat for the occasion. (Bear with me, you won't think I'm so mean in a mo)
We all retired to the local hostelry, which was once owned by my Great-Grandfather and indeed where many of us had spent happy hours as children.
Shirl had to be helped into the pub, such was her distressed state, which wasn't easy viewing.
Funerals are never easy, emotions run high and we were all a bit reluctant to say much for a while, but soon a row broke out, as they always do at funerals.
There were raised voices and pointing, others were called over and they joined in, sides were taken and no-one could sort out exactly where the Grandfather clock used to be. Beer flowed and we ate four times as many sandwiches as the pub had prepared in advance.
A man I'd seen in the church was introduced to Shirl and amazingly the tears stopped and Barbie re-appeared!! Gosh what talent to be able to change characters like that!
I know, you think I'm mean, but going from an inconsolable wreck to come up and see me some time was quite a transformation. She still managed her high heels, tight belt and leg-showing skirt. I could almost hear my dear Nan asking what the hell her daughter was playing at!!
And the punch line, I'm shocked and embarrassed, but as I can't tell my Nan, I'll tell you. Before we got into the car to travel the 40ish miles home I walked down to the Grave for another look at the flowers, and was surprised to see a few relatives also there.
"Aren't the flowers lovely" My Aunt said.
I started feeling tearful again.
My Aunt can read me like a book and continued with a tiny smile "...mm, lovely, guess which ones are from your Mum (Shirl)?"
I looked at the flowers, huge cushions of white and lilac buds, a whole row of letters forming the word 'Mum', Sprays and Bouquets..obviously hundreds of pounds worth of flowers.
"I don't know" I said quietly.
"The Cyclamen" said my Aunt and laughed and laughed.
Amongst all the beautiful arrangements was a single potted Cyclamen; a pink potted cyclamen, and this for the wonderful lady whose favourite colour was lilac, and from the monied daughter who was clearly the most devastated about her passing.
"She said they didn't have any lilac flowers left"
Well, there is a credit crunch on I suppose !
Can I make a public plea..if ever I get that mean, shoot me..