This morning, I went to my first ever funeral! It's taken me forty years, but I finally caved in.
I have known many people who have died - friends, family, acquaintances - but I have missed all their funerals because:
- a) I have been in another country
- b) I have not been able to get away from work or
- c) I just didn't like them very much
Today's funeral was for an old friend of the family whom I have known since I was a little boy. Her name was Eileen and it's so sad she is no longer with us. However, she was very pragmatic about things and liked a laugh, so I know she won't be upset about me blogging about it...
Mum was doing the eulogy, so we turned up early to make sure we got a good seat. Normally, when going to a show, I like an aisle seat, but seeing as mum had to get up, I magnanimously relented and gave her easy access.
It was quite a crowd queuing up outside the venue. It's kind of like speed-dating... you wait for the previous mourners to have their little soiree and then your crowd can pile in after. It was a bit like waiting for a ride at Alton Towers but without the crowd-control turnstiles. Whilst waiting, I was checking out the talent amongst the mourners. There wasn't a lot, but some lads do brush up well once attired in a suit... even Derbyshire folk!
Mum and I were allowed in first (a secret "Nur, nur-ne, nur-nur" went through my head to the others in the queue as I can be rather infantile) and we got front row seats. Normally I hate hate front row seats, but thankfully, this wasn't IMAX.
I was actually surprised at the little crematorium chapel. It was reasonably warm, but I imagine someone had lit a nice roaring fire somewhere for our convenience.
Once everyone was in, the service began. It was a short and sweet affair. Mum's eulogy was beautiful and touching, a letter from Eileen written before her passing was also read and it was charming, funny and moving. The host-chappie said something about Jesus Claus and the Christmas Miracle, or something... and then Freddie Mercury belted out The Show Must Go On. (He wasn't actually there, otherwise I might have to start believing in all that hocus pocus!)
We all paid our respects to Eileen as we passed through the exit (no gift shop - rude!) and then we got to speak to her husband, sons and family.
It was a tearful morning. All jokes aside, Eileen really was one of the kindest, gentlest, funniest, warmest, most beautiful women to have ever lived. She really was one in a million. She will be dearly missed.
As I am currently in a 'Will Young' phase when it comes to naming my blog entries, I have chosen 'Evergreen' as Eileen loved gardening and loved her allotment, I know that in our memories, her garden will be kept evergreen forever.