For some strange reason my thoughts turned to funerals today.
I have been to a few.
The first major one was my father, nearly fifty years ago. My memories are somewhat fractured and I only remember bits of it. I remember driving behind the hearse and how the cortege paused on the road outside The Manor [I could hear the dog howling indoors – he never normally howled so somehow he must have known]. I remember being at the grave on the steep side of the valley. It was a glorious hot summer’s day and was/is a beautiful spot to end one’s days. I also remember the wake back at the house and my uncle regaling us all with somewhat filthy but very funny stories.
I didn’t attend my sister’s funeral as it was in New Zealand.
Then of course there was my mother, twenty four years ago. Strangely I remember little of that. It was a very off-beat affair as she had donated her body to science so her funeral didn’t take place until a year or so after her death. The one thing I do remember was that she was supposed to be buried beside my father but the grave digger dug the wrong side of the plot and she ended up on top of him. There’s a joke there somewhere?
The last one I attended was Grandson the Elder. They say it’s against the natural order for a parent to bury a child so it is a lot harder to bury a grandchild. That was a beautiful affair with less of the mournful droning prayers and more of the happy speeches [especially by Daughter] about his life.
There have been others of course. Herself is the youngest of eight so we have planted both her parents and six of her siblings. There is only one sister left now and she’s well into her eighties. She’ll probably see us all off.
I haven’t given much thought to my funeral. I hope there is a decent wake with loads of booze and laughter. I don’t want any of that mournful crap. Smoking will be compulsory. Theoretically I have a vacant plot beside my parents [though not on top of my mother. Please. I beg of you.] but I would be happy enough if they just chucked me off Wicklow Head into the sea.
I won’t give a shit, one way or another