The funeral went well on Monday. I'd even go so far as to say it was 'enjoyable'. It really was - seeing everything come together as you'd hoped, and seeing old friends and family too.
I got to meet my new great nephew - the delightfully cute Noah, aged just six months old. A new life. It's a cliche, I know, but babies at a funeral really ARE a comfort. I fell in love with him a little right there and then.
The canon who did the service was very good, and the music we chose to play worked perfectly, too. Happenstance had it that it was the same canon who did my dad's funeral ceremony four years ago: I'd never felt that that service did my dad justice - it left me feeling a bit hollow that we were all in such a state of shock we weren't able to string enough memories together to do my dad proud on the day he was buried. That was something that had haunted me a bit. So to have the same chap do my mum's funeral, and this time for it to go incredibly well with plenty of good celebratory stuff being said about both her and my dad was kind of a 'putting right' of that past mistake as well. We did them both proud.
It was the most glorious sunny spring day. Clear blue sky, cold air but warm afternoon sun on our backs. I could hear what at first I thought were skylarks singing somewhere off in the distance, but I think it was actually robins. Anyway, they sounded great as we stood there under the sun.
Signs. Ah yes, signs! Both natural and electric.
When we went to see my mum's body laying in the chapel of rest (not a great experience, I've gotta say) my brother asked her to show him a sign that there was some kind of afterlife, a sign that she could hear him and that was now okay and with dad.
I didn't know this until I pointed out that it looked like all the wind turbines in the distance that we were driving towards were standing stock still in silhouette, as though they were standing motionless out of respect for us on our difficult afternoon. That was when he pointed out he'd asked for some sign from mum, and we both remembered the turbines rotating as usual when we drove past them on the way there... My brother had never seen them standing still before. They looked so sombre, aware almost.
I said "okay, I'll have that then! ... and now I'm trying to dampen down my thought that it was probably just a little man underground throwing an 'off' switch ".
A few minutes later we came over the brow of a hill. Two red kites were soaring above us, riding the thermals from the valley. They drifted overhead - a pair of them - slow and majestic, circling, as we passed beneath them in the car. Ah, okay then. So here's my sign. Take that, doubting Thomas. Cheers mum.
Another pair circled above us as we drove over on the morning of the funeral as well. Low that time, looking very large.
The other thing's been niggly electrics. My hot water tank at home has bust, and the ignition unit on my central heating boiler has broken down now, too. So it's been a bit chilly round here. Happily the boiier engineer has left me a fan heater to use today while we wait for a replacement part. Fixed on friday, hopefully.
The funeral director pointed out to us on the drive back that these odd things tend to come in threes. The third thing? The car which was supposed to drive me and my brother home from the funeral after we left the grave side went and broke down as well. The immobiliser wouldn't switch off. They'd never known that happen before. So there we were sitting in this car for five minutes, watching the guys completely befuddled as they tinkered with it. We ended up being driven home in the hearse.
It was a good day, and a powerful one, and I'm very glad that it is done. A significant weight feels like it's been lifted off.
I didn't really believe in an afterlife before, more a transference of energies into this great big web of life in which we all play a part. But things that have happened in the past week have made me change my mind. To be expected of course, as you get older and experience loss and need to try and make sense of it. However, it's now very much a comfort to me to think that there's the possibility of at least a 'knowing' afterwards, when you die.
Mum wanted my brother and I to be happy. She died knowing that I was. That makes me happy in itself. : )