A Time for Goodbyes

I am aware of two funerals taking place today and I will be attending one of them :The next door neighbour of our holiday home on the Isle of Wight , was a 90 year old widower, and he died of cancer two weeks ago. My parents were good friends with this friendly couple over the years and he was the keyholder in times of emergency for our second home. His wife sadly had a stroke a few years ago and he became her carer, and Mum attended her funeral, despite the distance that she had to travel. She always said that at the best funerals, you learn something new about the deceased and she came back filled with their family tales. She had told me that the long drive was really too much for her now but that, and I can recall this clearly, she would still make the effort to drive down for the widowers funeral, whenever it became necessary. Sadly she never had that opportunity, so I am pleased to be able to represent our family there today.

The second funeral that I am aware of, is for the husband of one of Joshua’s teaching assistants from school, who was also cruelly taken, too soon this time, by cancer. She was Joshua’s PA for some time too, so he spent time at weekends and during school holidays with this couple. Sadly he was unwell in all of the time that I have known them, he battled cancer for the last 6 years, and he finally died at home, under his devoted wife’s care as he requested. If we had been at home, I would have attended his funeral, to support his widow and to show my respects, but she knows that I am thinking of her family at this desperately sad time.

I will be going to today’s funeral alone, while my husband takes care of Joshua, these church services, where solemnity and quiet are required, are not places where Joshua’s cheery thumbs ups and spontaneous outbursts will be helpful – although his light relief might go down well! I recall at my mother’s cremation, Joshua shouted out ‘No, no, no!’ at a quiet moment and smacked me. He will not have understood what was happening, all these family members crying and not giving him the attention that he craved, and ‘where was Granny?’ will have been all too much. His place was more appropriate at the wake, where he could wander around, eat delicious food and bring a smile to all those sad faces.

We all know that dying is part of life and it will affect us all, but it does not make these events any easier. My heart aches for the two families who I know will be grieving today and I send them both my love.

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