Today I was at yet another funeral. This one was in my church, and I was serving on the altar. The lady who has died was in her late nineties, the matriarch of a large family, and obviously much loved. Her family were there to say their farewells. There was solemn recorded music at the beginning and the end. It was a solemn and dignified service, simple, and formal. There were a number of symbols that I gather are traditional in the Catholic church, though I hadn’t come across them before. Covering the coffin with a pall, white with joyful, coloured embroidery, a symbol of resurrection. There was a book of the Gospels and a cross placed on the coffin too. And people wore black.
So this is how other people do it! After the extravaganzas that were Carol’s and Michelle’s funerals, I was fascinated to experience something else. There is, of course, no right or wrong, no better or worse. Just different.
I was surprised, though I shouldn’t have been, that being at another funeral made me feel sad about Carol and Michelle all over again. And next week yet another – this one a humanist celebration at the natural burial ground. We will be honouring an important member of the National Coastwatch Institution, standing guard in our uniforms as she arrives. It will be interesting, and I suspect rather moving and very lovely.