15 May 2007

The end of an era

Note: This will be a potentially morbid post. Please stop reading now if you think this will annoy you. After this post the subject is officially closed. This post was written later in the day of the funeral, and has just been unearthed.

It’s been an interesting day, and certainly proof that you can’t pick your relations.
Today I have learnt that I’m getting to be very stuck up, and slightly snobby with regards to my family.

One of my cousins turned up to the funeral in a clingy, short and marginally transparent cheap black dress. I should now point out that the girl in question is a woman’s size 18-20 (UK) and is less than 5ft3 in height. I feel that the boundaries of taste and decency were crossed on that one, but I really shouldn’t be commenting – that’s just what she’s like.

Before the service we went to my grandmother’s old warden controlled bungalow, for the last time before the tenancy ceases this Friday, and the keys are handed back to the housing agency.

It seemed odd to walk into her empty house – a house where I spent many childhoods learning interesting things like baking, patchworking, embroidery and knitting. My parents never believed in child minders, and on the rare occasions I needed looking after, I went to either sets of grandparents. I think it did me a world of good, and taught me my ‘homely’ and ‘arty’ skills. Things that I can still do to this day.

The house was still largely filled with her possessions, although you could see faded marks across the walls where photographs had been removed by the family. The dresser also stood empty where willow pattern plates had been taken. It upsets me that the entirety of someone’s life gets divided up like playing cards. That something so very personal can be left to ‘who gets there first’.

From her home we walked through our tiny village behind the hearse, holding hands with my father as we walked in procession. From there I left my father to be with his sisters, while I kept my mother company.

The funeral service was wonderful, what little of it I managed to focus on. The reverend was a close friend of my immediate family and someone I deeply respect and admire. He did my grandmother justice and remembered her with dignity. And as a mark of her popularity and long existence within our area – the church was packed. Sadly, her passing marks the end of three generations in our village (and when I finally leave home, only one will remain).

With the end of the service came the burial, and something I would have preferred not to have seen. My mother hates seeing people placed in the ground, and couldn’t go near the graveside, so I went with my father to hold his hand. I hate seeing men cry, especially my father, so it was slightly upsetting to see his bloodshot and red eyes as we came out of the church.

A handful of soil and a prayer later and it was all over. No major family rows and no harsh words. The opal and amethyst ring wasn’t mentioned by any party, but I suspect the topic will be discussed in the next few weeks.


MB said...

Oh Merys, I was quite tearful when I finished reading this post. It reminded me of my aunts funeral earlier this year. I know what you mean about the possessions, her husbands family kicked up a big fuss about how her jewellry should be divided up. This was even mentioned on the day of the funeral. It hurt my family so much having to put up with that selfishness on an already solemn occasion.

*Big hugs* take care of yourself.

caramaena said...

Again, my condolences. Funerals are never easy.

Ms-Ellisa said...

My condolences to you Merys... I hope you are better.
Funerals are hard, I have attanded just one- of a friend of mine and I couldn't sleep for six months. It's nice to know that everything paid respect to your grandmother, that is a big deal. And it helps you as well to know that.
Because I spent my friend's funeral listening to crappy gossip and supposed-to-be ethical comments but truely were just showing off and it hurt me then and it still does whenever I think about it. There's a time and a place for everything, even showing off.