Thoughts of a funeral-goer

Charles Cowling

 

Posted by Lyra Mollington

 

I had been determined to talk to my family about my funeral, but as Easter Sunday progressed it was becoming increasingly clear that there wasn’t going to be a suitable lull in the conversation. Our family, especially the grandchildren, are talkers. They certainly don’t take after Grandpa. Mr Mollington has to be gently coaxed into revealing his innermost thoughts – and his surface thoughts. And I’m not terribly fond of coaxing, gently or otherwise.

However, I made a discovery. I have more in common with my death-metal grandson, Sebastian, (Baz to his friends) than I realised. When he’s not listening to bands like The Soulless or training for his next kick-boxing fight (or Muay Thai as he calls it) he’s thinking of other ways to torment his mum and dad. Which it transpires is extremely easy. He’s also a landscape gardener which is not what they had in mind when he did a degree in accountancy.

His mum (my daughter Jamie) was talking about the commercialisation of Easter and saying, ‘It’s Christmas all over again.’ I was just about to comment that her theology was slightly muddled when Seb piped up that the true meaning of Easter (‘and for that matter Christmas’) was to be found in its pagan roots. Indeed, by eating chocolate eggs and rabbits (rather a lot I noticed) he declared he was celebrating the spring festival as it was meant to be celebrated. He said all this in a quite brilliant accent that I can only describe as a variant of Cockney. The words ‘innit?’ and ‘know-what-I-mean?’ featured strongly. Again not at all what his mum and dad had in mind when they paid for him to be privately educated.

A lively discussion followed about paganism; ‘keeping it real’; and how his parents’ generation (‘no disrespect’) have messed up the planet. I listened.

You see, I had realised something extremely important. My children, Jamie and Alex, aren’t the ones I should be talking to about my funeral – it’s Seb, my grandson. In fact I think all the grandchildren are much more comfortable talking about death than their parents.

The following day, I phoned him to ask what he thought about Grandma Lyra being buried in the woods. The jokey accent returned and he exclaimed, ‘Are you for real Grandma? That’s well sick!’ Which he assured me is ‘excellent’. To begin with I found his enthusiasm slightly unsettling but he is such a lovely boy with a heart of gold.

Later that day, he popped round and by the end of our little chat all thoughts of being cremated had gone right out of my head. I am going to be buried – ‘pagan-stylie’. And defo no mdf coffin – instead I will have a burial shroud made from wool. (As he pointed out, I am very fond of my woollen cardies.) All the grandchildren will carry me. If they can’t handle it, then he and his mates will! No probs. And no double-depth grave.

But there is one thing I had to promise him. Any further research about funerals would be for fun. From now on it was to be Grandma’s unusual hobby. My own funeral arrangements were done and dusted.

I can relax – I will be safe in the hands of the people I love most in the world. As Seb pointed out, ‘Grandma, in the words of Metallica, nothing else matters.’

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Lyra MollingtonBelinda ForbesJon UnderwoodEvelynRockdweller Recent comment authors

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Lyra Mollington
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Lyra Mollington

Thank you all for your comments.
Rockdweller – I have every confidence in my granchildren and Seb’s friends. A lot of them are girls.
Evelyn: whatever our eventual modes of transport, we will both be in safe hands.
Belinda: a good idea, although any music is unlikely to be the guitar. I shall have to check but I think he and his friends learned to play instruments like the violin and the flute (and one French horn I believe).

Belinda Forbes
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Evelyn – I think my son will be hiring your son’s merc estate!
Lyra – perhaps one of Seb’s friends could play a guitar solo at the graveside. Unplugged if you prefer or there are battery powered amps.

Jon Underwood
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Thanks, that was brilliant!

Evelyn
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Well! Whatever next? Who’d have thought a death metaller would eschew the fiery furnace in favour of a soft blanket nestling beneath the leafy mulch?! Although that is apparently only his preferred option for Grandma Lyra of course. ( sick or not) When I asked my son what he’d do if I died ( apart from inherit) he said he’d google everything, and totally poo pooed the idea of a hearse and cortege ( that was simply ‘showing off’ and ‘who bothers to look anyway, Mum?’) I left it with him, which was a mistake to an enterprising mind –… Read more »

Rockdweller
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Rockdweller

Dear Mrs Mollington, you are rapidly becoming the Sage of Old Age. How good to know, when the time comes (may it be many years hence), that Baz will heed your forerunner John Donne’s admonition that the bell will toll for him, too, urging him to take up the burden literally and dutifully, with joy and with sadness, all the while keeping it real. No embarrassed summoning of Men in Black Macs for him. Such a wise fellow he is. But is he representative of his generation, do you think? Can he be certain that his chums will not be… Read more »