Post by Chris McMillan Post by Penny
scrawled in the dust...
Post by Jenny M Benson
I've told my children it's entirely up to them what they do with me, but
I would really like to "go out" to the Post Horn Gallop.
Ray 'went out' to the Ying Tong song :)
Which was largely my idea - I think it would all have ended in tears had we
gone with the only music any of us recalled Ray mentioning with regard to
his funeral - Dido's Lament - particularly in the Jeff Buckley version one
of his sons mentioned...
Which, as two umrats had it at the reception would reduce me to giggles. A
friend of mine is likely to pass away soon if he has another stroke,
timevis not on his side. He lost a lot of his consciousness of life after
two biggies a few weeks ago. He's not old, his wife has put in place that
he will go directly to be cremated and there will be no funeral but there
will be a memorial service (may be two as they moved from the Midlands to S
Coast but have so many friends in the Midlands and family, it could be
easier that way. She personally does not want her last memory to be a box.
When you've known your husband since you were 12, and in the same class
from 13, and started going out at 14, you can see her point. Just
celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary.
That's how I did it for Tony. I may as well share this with you now that
the subject has come up. It is just over nine months ago now. Last
Sunday would have been our 47th wedding anniversary. Get your tissues
His body was collected by the funeral director from the hospice for a
direct cremation. I had been with him while he died and afterwards, and
there was no need for me to see his body again, or ever see the coffin.
A few days later, the funeral directors took him to the crem - no one
else went with them, not even me. They told us when it would be, and did
the whole thing very respectfully, asking what clothes I had for him to
wear, and what music we would like them to play as they took him on his
Then another ten days later, on a day to suit all the family, we had our
memorial ceremony at the Village Hall. This is a friendly place with
happy memories for me, and it seemed right to hold it there. The
ceremony was not unlike a funeral, but instead of a coffin, we had
Tony's ashes, displayed in a miniature stainless steel beer barrel from
the local brewery (he would have loved that!). I asked people to wear
their normal, colourful clothes, as it would have distressed me to see
everyone in black.
The funeral director gave helpful advice: don't just have a party, he
said, as people can feel cheated if you do that. They need a time to be
solemn and reflective and respectful. So we had readings: a wonderful
poem by Brian Patten called "So Many Different Lengths of Time", and
John Masefield's Sea Fever, as Tony had always loved the sea, and wanted
his ashes to go into the river Dart and be carried down to the sea ("And
a quite sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over"). I spoke,
as did both our daughters and a friend of Tony's, with fond
reminiscences and even some funny incidents recalled. Our granddaughter
sang the Irish/Scottish folk song The Parting Glass - she has the voice
of an angel and did it with tremendous poise and simplicity. Then to
finish, we played the Stones' "Out of Time" which was a favourite track
of Tony's, and one that he had once remarked would be a good song for a
Then we all got up, put out tables and rearranged the furniture, and
served plenty of food and drink, which was something Tony had
specifically requested. There was a lovely positive vibe by this point,
and the hall was ringing with chatter and conversation.
On the stage we had spread out on tables lots of items to do with Tony's
life - things he had made or worn or used in his hobbies, certificates,
photos, favourite belongings, etc. People enjoyed looking at these and I
think everyone learned something they hadn't known about him.
So that was how we did it - a funeral with no body and no religion. Tony
had given his approval to the general idea, and I think he'd have been
tremendously impressed and proud of us all if he could have seen it. I
agree that a funeral is for the comfort of the living, but it also gives
me comfort to know how much he'd have liked what we did for him.
To reply, replace dontusethisaddress with marje