I had an interesting afternoon last week.
I went to the funeral of someone I had known in my youth.
She had interesting, if sad,life, doggedby ill health.
I really went along because I had known the family for a very long time and to support them . They had a very difficult relationship with her, and found it very unsettling when most of the other mourners sang her praises - they had only know her for a short time and were still in the honeymoon period. For indeed she could be the most charming, wittiest creature on earth, and also the vilest.
I had been warned that it would be a rather unorthodox event. The choice of music for the entry of the coffin was quite something - Fire by Arthur Brown, which for those of you who don't know what I mean , is the song that starts "I am the god of hellfire and I bring you fire..." I actually clapped my hand over my mouth. The rest of the service was rather tame after that! A Humanist person led the event, and he was excellent, despite never even meeting her. An old friend spoke very eloquently and honestly about her. He struck exactly the right tone - warts and all, but consistently positive all the same.
It was a subdued crowd who made their way to the pub afterwards I got a lift from a fellow family supporter who knew another side to her from our long past youth. So many people came that it was quite a crush in the small room at the pub. Circulating was quite a challenge, but I made it round. From a very elderly mother to the youngest grandchild, I was pleased to get to speak to them all.
Then came the piece de resistence - Singing along to "Always look on the bright side of life". Luckily there were many singers in the room so it all went with a swing. Amazingly, I got rather tearful at this point. I was remembering the first time I heard the song when we went as teenagers to see the film. We sat there open mouthed at the ending of the film. Imagine teenagers being shocked about something like that now! I was thinking about how nearly 30 years had passed and how we had all turned out.
Home on the bus to my own three daughters. They were all at home, waiting for their dinner, laughing about something together. "Well God," I thought "let them have their disagreements but please let them never stop them loving eachother."
Actually, I must give my brother a call....