My precious Aunty Liz died today.I guess I am feeling a bit strange. I have known for the past three weeks she was slipping away.
I was preparing to travel down for the funeral. Now today being told the decision is: there will be no funeral. No Funeral. When I pressed I got a vague and awkward”Maybe some form of a Memorial at a later date…”
Feeling abit shaken actually. My Dad gave Michael (Aunty Liz’s son ) the idea of not having a funeral (so as not to disrupt people’s lives?) and that’s the way Dad and Rachel (my step-Mum) have put things in place for themselves, when their time comes. Guess I am feeling today a little bit like how it will feel when I get a phone call at a later date from a Funeral Director telling me my Dad has died. What do I do then ? Just say “Thanks for letting me know” and drive off to work as a normal day ?
Back to Aunty Liz…
She has died after a full life. She lived for 89 years, for most of that time as an active member of the Church of England in my little hometown. Only yesterday I was thinking how special it was going to be to listen to the Eulogy for her in that very church, and, I was sure, picking up some new gems about her long and full life. I was picturing the gathering of the clan; cousins and other kinfolk not seen for years, and celebrating some long stored away memories.
Nearly ten years ago I worked as a Funeral Director for a couple of years. Believe me, I know what lies behind those particular smokes and mirrors. That experience helped lead me towards thinking that I really like the idea of a Memorial Service in some form, rather than a Funeral that has to have the casket of remains lying in state. Forgive my bluntness. Yes, it is a personal choice. To me, the person IS gone and the shell being present no more expresses the actual person anymore than a photo would; perhaps less.
But whether or not the casket is present or not; whether or not you opt for Funeral or Memorial Service, these factors are shared:the outpouring of grief, to have closure for those living, and to pause and indeed ponder on if not cherish (whatever the case may be) the unique relationship you had with that person, a celebration of their life. A pause: to reflect, respect their very time on this planet Versus “not wanting to disrupt people’s lives ?”
When did we get this busy ?
When did things get so out of kilter ?
I guess I am feeling like my grief/closure has been sabotaged.
My Aunty Liz was so very family orientated.
She died after a full life. At 89 years, it was the last two years that she was failing with dementia.
I know in my heart she wouldn’t have wanted this.
Dementia: it strips away all your dignity.
And now, the actual Cremation will take place with only Crematorium Staff present to fulfill the task.
I am beyond upset.
Thanks for listening.