The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Thoughts of a funeral-goer

Friday, 19 October 2012

 

Posted by Lyra Mollington

After last week’s trials and tribulations, I was looking forward to a week of rest and reflection.  Mr M suggested a short break.  Unfortunately, at our age, the stress of packing and travelling cancels out any benefits of getting away from it all.  In any case, ‘it all’ is a centrally-heated home with all mod cons, a reclining chair and a bed with a memory foam mattress.  Holiday cottages play havoc with my sciatica. 

What I really needed was a week without death.  However, this is easier said than done at my age.  A few weeks ago, Daisy and I sat down to watch ‘Bargain Hunt’ only to discover that this was a tribute episode, shown in loving memory of one of the experts – our favourite, David Barby.  We were distraught.  We had no idea that he had died.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I watch rather a lot of TV.  Would it be possible to watch television AND avoid death-related topics?  Forward planning was the key.  I decided that the programmes I could safely watch included ‘Hairy Bikers’; ‘Grand Designs’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.  I also decided that there were going to be a lot of programmes I’d have to avoid, like ‘Homeland’; ‘999: What’s Your Emergency?’ and ‘Emmerdale’.

For two days, my television diet was dull but death-free.  Until I was tripped up by Mr M.  We were watching ‘Dad’s Army’ because  I was fairly certain no-one ever dies in that, although I was trying not to dwell on how many of the actors are no longer with us.  As the credits rolled, Mr M began fiddling absent-mindedly with the remote control.  We were now watching a show called ‘The X Factor’.  It seemed harmless enough until one of the contestants burst into tears.  Her nan had died.   

On Monday evening, with the remote carefully hidden, I settled down to watch a BBC2 documentary called ‘Wonderland: Walking with Dogs’.  I have a soft spot for dogs, especially my canine companion Colin.  I named him after a certain good-looking and talented young actor. Farrell of course, not Firth.

As the remarkable ‘Walking with Dogs’ stories unfolded, I wondered if Colin (the dog, not the actor) and I might have had a tale worth telling.  Not that we would ever have been in the running:  Vanessa Engle filmed her documentary on Hampstead Heath, which isn’t our local park.  This is just as well because, judging from the experiences of one set of dog-walking ladies, Colin and I have had a lucky escape.  Apparently dog-walkers were often stumbling across dead bodies on the Heath.  Indeed, whilst the camera crew were there, a dead body was discovered.  Although to everyone’s disappointment, it turned out to be someone fast asleep in a bush. 

At the mention of ‘dead bodies’ I should have changed channels but I was gripped.  The most poignant story of all was about a couple whose son had died a few months previously.  They referred to their pet as a ‘rescue dog’ because he had rescued them.  Their advice to anyone who had suffered an unbearably painful bereavement?  Get a dog.  Whilst a dog can never replace the person you have lost, he or she is a wonderful distraction. 

I held Colin a little tighter.  It was at this point that I heard a snuffling noise.  I looked across at Mr M who was dabbing his eyes with a handkerchief.  After a minute or two he regained his composure and said, ‘Have you seen the remote?’

  

2 comments on “Thoughts of a funeral-goer

  1. Quokkagirl

    Sunday 21st October 2012 at 9:31 pm

    It was an enchanting programme – quirky and interesting and we too had a lot of gulping going on in our house. Wonderful observation as always Lyra.

  2. Jed

    Saturday 20th October 2012 at 5:26 pm

    In the midst of life we are in death…. There’s just no getting away from it Mrs Mollington – especially on television. I wonder how many tv deaths we see in a lifetime?

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