The funeral

I’d never been to a funeral before. I remember going to my great grandad’s wake when I was young but I’d never been to an actual service before, let alone plan one.

I woke up the day of my mam’s funeral and there was a buzz around the house. We were all getting ready for this momentous occasion, this big event. It’s funny because it was as though we were all getting ready for a night out with the amount of effort we were each making. As her daughter’s, we wanted look our best. Besides there is no rule book on how your supposed to act on the day of your mother’s funeral. Everybody is different.

I felt excited. Sounds strange I know. I was excited to feel better. I mean everyone told me I would. Everyone said that after the funeral was over I would feel some closure – to me this meant I would feel instantly better, that once I had said goodbye that a weight of sadness and guilt would lift. I felt nervous. I was about to read a eulogy to a huge group of people for the first time. I felt anxious. I wanted the day to go perfectly – it was what she deserved. I don’t get embarrassed sharing with you that I had drank my first glass of wine by 10.30.

Our kitchen was full with people by the time the hearse and limousine arrived. Nothing can prepare you for the feeling you get when you see that casket – closed and topped with flowers in the back of a car. Surrounded by many other flowers filled with messages of love. It was the closed part that got to me, knowing that she was just laying there in a wooden box. It was unsettling. Almost as unsettling as seeing her in the funeral home. I refused to cry though, it may sound ridiculous to you but I didn’t want to ruin my make-up.

It was the longest car journey of my life, driving slowly behind that hearse in a limousine with my dad crying quietly in the front seat. I don’t think enough people asked him how he was feeling, how he was holding up. I felt awful for him. She was still his wife after all.

The crowd of people at the front of the crematorium was overwhelming. That’s the thing about a funeral it’s usually a public announcement so there is no need to ever concern yourself with RSVP’s, meaning you have little idea on how many people to expect. I was grateful for the turn out, it showed how loved she was. It was crazy for me not knowing how to act, I felt like I wanted to smile and wave to people but I didn’t think that would be deemed acceptable. I avoided eye contact as best I could instead.

We had asked my dad to carry the casket, it felt only right for us that at least one person who knew her and loved her would do it and rather than just four complete strangers. I followed the casket first with my sister’s behind me, I don’t know if walking in order of age was intentional but it seemed we did it that way.

The service went really well. There was just as much laughter as there was tears which I was glad for. It felt good to be in a room with so many people who loved her. But with every minute that passed, the anxiety in the pit of my stomach grew. I knew I would have to leave soon. That I would have to leave her behind. I had asked them not to close the curtain, it felt too final. So, she was still there when I left, in a wooden box, covered in roses. As I was leaving I was too impatient, too optimistic, I half expected this weight to suddenly lift. Turned out I needed to get used to feeling a little heavier than usual for a little while longer…

Thanks for reading x

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