Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Funeral Preparations

Until you are an active participant in a funeral I don’t think you realise quite how many different jobs have to be done, how long it takes to do these jobs and how much it all costs. At the same time as this is going on the deceased starts to become a non-person in the eyes of the State. A well-oiled machine springs into action and masses of letters are automatically generated that express regret followed by some request for money or information. Mum and Dad’s solicitor was totally and utterly brilliant and his was one of the few bills that I didn’t resent having to pay.

I was just totally frantic with stress and sadness. There were a few jobs that I had to do but much of the burden fell on my Grand Parents and on my Mother’s sister. The result was that the format of the funeral was overwhelming what they wanted and not what I wanted nor what Mum and Dad would have expected.

Lots of people were invited who didn’t know me or Mum and Dad. They were friends of my Grand Parents and I never understood why I had to pay for them to be fed and watered at the wake we had in a local hotel after the cremation.

Oh yes I ended up paying. My Grand Parents let the rest of the family think that they had paid themselves but once Mum and Dad’s estate had all been sorted out the itemised bill was passed to me and I had to refund every last penny to them. My Aunt (Mum’s sister) and my Uncle (Dad’s brother) only discovered this ages later when it came up in conversation.

My Paternal Grand Parents did almost nothing except attend the event. Two or three days later they then returned to the USA where they spend about 6 months a year.

After a violent death there is always some delay before a funeral can take place and of course there needs to be a vacant slot at the chosen church or crematorium as well. The time between death and the funeral is like being in limbo. You feel totally powerless and you just have to wait because until you have had the funeral the healing process doesn’t even start.

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