My Dad dies just over 2 weeks ago and I cremated him yesterday (someone else did, but I paid for the ringside seats) Yesterday we had the funeral, the cremation and the Wake. It was a bloody rough day.
It was an early cremation because there were other people wanting to be cremated at the time, but slightly later at a more convenient time slot for the older folk to get up, we were given the first spot. New flowers, carpet hoovered, sanitised, and everyone involved wired on coffee and in tuneful voice.
Our hearse arrived and the chief undertaker spoke in whispered tones as we clambered in the funeral car, with her walking in front, past all the neighbours and up to the bus shelter, turning left at the garage and only then putting on the hazards whilst she jumped through the passenger window and shouted “DRIVE” at Steve, our driver. Such a smooth operator, the same company who provided the cars for Princess Di’s funeral no less, and with a director (now retired) but a close personal friend of my folks, who answers the phone with just his surname. It’s a dying art. He’s 86 himself and struggles but I imagine he’s buried or burnt all his mates in the not too distant past. Which is something I think we should all think about but have no idea how to put into words. He’s a nice guy, a really good bloke, and I wonder if his mates ever thought about their death and Bill. I wonder. I don’t know any close friends who are funeral directors and so I’m now hoping the person who does me doesn’t fuck it up. I think i’ll take some sort of legal advice.
We arrived at the Crem, lovely pace out of town, they usually are, got out of the car, and were put in position, next to Dad in the coffin, and waited at the door of the crem. There’s a big telly with some flowers in a meadow to the right of the door with My Dads name amongst the stalks, above the grass but below the flowers, Its a nice touch; I think they’ve done this before. And we wait, the vicar wears a dark side of the moon mask, we chat about Pink Floyd, he’s a record collector and likes red wine, this is good, and only when we have to walk into the Crem and Dad in his coffin is put front and centre in some sort of alcove, is when I start to worry that I may not be able to do this. I look at the order of service and see I’m third on the bill after the welcome (technical team) and a song (technical term) then its me to scintillate for a full 5 minutes (that’s how I’ve seen it) 5 minutes to speak about a man I’ve known for 50 years, all my life. But dear readers, this is the only time we have when we cremate. Theres a person waiting to burn just behind us, hot on our heels, so to speak.
Anyway, I smashed it, I’ve been told, by all the elderly people there who couldn’t hear, pdf I could have changed anything I would have had a microphone that I could have held in my hand and paced about a bit. I think that would have helped.
Anyway. RIP Michael; my Dad. Fine chap and Bloody Good Bloke. The Best, form my point off view.