My Grandad’s funeral was on Wednesday this week, and after my three weeks of apprehensiveness about it, it ended up being fine. I suspected that might happen – more than once I’ve anticipated things being worse than they actually turn out to be.
It was boiling hot in London, pushing 90 degrees apparently, which didn’t feel right for a funeral somehow. I drove my Mum and Dad to the ceremony in our (Chris’) car, and thank GOD it has air conditioning because it would have been awful otherwise. It already was not a good day to be wearing a shirt and tie and a black suit, so having to be enclosed in a metal box for half an hour as well would have been too much.
We only got there about 10 minutes before the ceremony was due to start, and by a weird coincidence ended up following my Grandad’s hearse for the last few minutes. There was no official procession or anything, just the hearse to bring the coffin to the crematorium, because my Grandad didn’t want lots of money wasted on what he regarded as the empty shell he’d leave behind after he’d gone. So it felt quite nice in a way that we ended up creating a mini-procession anyway, even if it was just for half a mile (and even if a Tesco van did end up involved for while).
It meant there wasn’t a lot of hanging around at the crematorium anyway, which is good because it was the idle chitchat that I was nervous about. I did see my cousins, and they came over and said hello to me and my brother and shook hands and it was all perfectly normal. I didn’t really speak to them beyond that, but my brother did just for a few minutes.
Then we went into the BOILING ceremony room, which wasn’t very nice because the heat was quite distracting from the proceedings. The ceremony was short but fine, but unfortunately the vicar sort of missed out that my brother was meant to be reading a poem he’d spent ages choosing. So we were a bit confused when suddenly the curtain started closing around the coffin and it was all over, because we were waiting for him to do his bit. In the end she retrieved it when we told her she’d missed my brother (retrieved the situation, I mean; she didn’t go and get the coffin back), and gathered everyone together by the flowers outside and Dave read it there. It was really nice and very fitting for the kind of man my Grandad was, and I was really pleased he did it. It was the only contribution from family, and I don’t think it would have felt very nice if no one had said anything at all.
Then after a little bit of milling about I escaped with Mum, who was suffering from the heat, and took her home. She was a convenient excuse for me not to have to go back to the wake thing really. I took her back, and my Dad, brother and sister-in-law went off with the other guests for tea and sandwiches or some such thing. I’ve not spoken to my brother yet, but he texted me later and said the afternoon was all fine, so it sounds like there were no arguments or pointed comments or anything like that. I’m going to try to speak to him later to find out if there was any gossip from it all. So I’m glad anyway, because if it had turned difficult it wouldn’t have been very nice for him or my Dad, or very respectful to my Grandad.
So that’s it really. All over now. It’s entirely likely I won’t see my cousins or uncle again (I did see my uncle and aunt from a distance, but didn’t pass close enough to them to say hello, so just didn’t end up doing so). We’ve got no real reason to meet up with them now. I suppose there might be another funeral for a family member at some point. But that won’t be for a while (hopefully), and it won’t be the first time I’ve seen them since the ‘outing’ any more so I don’t think I’ll feel so tense about it.
All the apprehension was pretty much for nothing, but, y’know, I’m a worrier and that’s just what I do…