It may sound incredible for me to divulge to you that in 33 years I have only been to one funeral, that was the funeral of my Great Nan back when I was about 16. I’m not sure if this means anything, have I just been rather lucky not to have lost that many people who are close to me?
Today I had to attend the funeral of my Nan.
She had suffered from Alzheimer’s for a couple of years and earlier this year she had survived skin cancer. Sadly a check-up around 8 weeks later revealed that the cancer had returned to pretty much every part of her body. You name a part of the body and it was riddled with this horrid disease.
She was placed into a hospice where she was given a maximum of two weeks to live, the tough cow lasted two months and even then she was taking the minimal amount of pain medication which was even shocking the doctors and nurses.
I was worried about going to the funeral because my family can be volatile at the best of times, I just had this funny feeling that something was going to happen and there would be bloodshed. They could all start fights in a room on their own.
We met at Nan’s flat and it was actually rather nice to see some of the family again that I hadn’t seen in years. The last time I saw my 18 year old cousin was when he was about 8, and the last time I saw my uncle’s stepdaughter was when she was 4, she’s 17 now.
After everyone arrived we went down stairs with the flowers to get into the cars. We could only afford to hire two cars so a couple of family friends brought their cars. The front car would take my Nan’s three children and their partners and the second car would take 6 of her 8 grandkids.
Everyone else would jump into the spare cars.
Nobody complained apart from my great aunt. She was upset and very vocal that my mum and uncle (they arranged the funeral) should have put on a third car for her and her brother. My mum tried to explain that she couldn’t afford it but my millionaire great aunt just stormed off to the church on her own.
As my mum said later, if she wanted a car for her brother and herself then why didn’t she pay for it herself? My mum and uncle are still left with a £2200 bill and that is after they handed over the £1500 from her life insurance and the £1000 that she had in savings.
I was expecting to be asked to carry the coffin as I thought that is what you did at funerals, but the men who drove the cars, and the hearse, took care of that. I was actually quite sad that I didn’t get to do that.
The service was weird. The priest did not read any of the verses or sing any of the hymns that we put forward and he left it up to the regular churchgoers to tell the rest of us when to sit down. That was pretty funny watching a 70 year old man wave his arms around as he violently whispered “sit down!” He kept talking about Jewish weddings for some reason; we were in a catholic church having a catholic funeral.