Thoughts of a funeralgoer

Charles Cowling



Posted by Lyra Mollington


On the day of cousin Trevor’s funeral, I woke up in a cold sweat. I’d had the most awful nightmare. I dreamt that all the mourners had been instructed to wear novelty slippers – the bigger and furrier the better. If that wasn’t bad enough, there were shaven-headed monks in saffron robes at the doors of the crematorium inspecting us. I was beginning to panic – were my gorilla slippers furry enough?

As my sister Myra and I drove along the M4, I thought it best not to mention my dream. As planned, we arrived in plenty of time for a cup of coffee and a Bath bun at the garden centre next door. Never attend a funeral on an empty stomach – grumbling tummies are not what the grieving widow wishes to hear.

Nor does she wish to hear the raucous ring-tone of a mobile phone. Barbara, the lady leading the ceremony, had barely welcomed us when, ‘Who let the dogs out?’ assaulted our ears.

The last time Myra and I had seen Trevor was at his father’s funeral twelve years ago, so the eulogy was a useful way of catching up on his latest news. We had to read between the lines of course. The word ‘alcoholic’ was never mentioned. Instead, we were told that he enjoyed socialising with his friends at his local, The Full Moon.

As the ceremony continued, I realised that in my preparations for the funeral, I hadn’t even considered that this might be a sad occasion. After all, Trevor was a Jack-the-lad and a happy-go-lucky sort .

Then we were told how his wife Marjorie had barely started researching Buddhist funerals on the internet when she discovered a note. Barbara read it out:

Dear Marj,

No fuss. Keep it simple and don’t spend too much. Treat yourself to a holiday. As the curtains close, The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel. Be happy my darling.

All my love,


P.S. “When you are born, you cry, and the world rejoices. When you die, you rejoice, and the world cries.” (Ancient Buddhist saying)

Trevor – wherever you are, I hope you are rejoicing.

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9 years ago

Lyra, first time I’ve read you after much recommendation. Lovely x

9 years ago

Notes to self:
Change ringtone to Mozart tout de suite
Only work at crematoria near garden centres
Locate The Full Moon
Shave furry slippers
Wait for rejoicing…

gloria mundi
9 years ago

Oh Lyra – poor you. “Who Let the Dogs Out” indeed – how frightful. Had it been “Charmaine” by Mantovani, or even a touch of Mozart, it might have been more bearable.

Are you turning into a Buddhist, my dear? Well, in any case, let us echo your wishes for Trevor, and raise a glass to his memory. But only one, mind you!

Lyra Mollington
Lyra Mollington
9 years ago

Thank you sweetpea. You are… sweet.

9 years ago

Lyra, you are well on your way to becoming a National Treasure.