...is not yer average funeral. Nor was Our Ma yer average woman. She was bright, bold, brave, cheerful and kind. And so, in the same way she lived, we will mark her passing.
No lugubrious music and mournful black. She will come in to Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller, and pass through the crematorium curtains to What A Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong. Those attending have been asked to wear their brightest garb, and if we clash, all the better!
The five foot long spray ordered by the family to lie along the length of her coffin will have huge colourful lilies, and vibrant strongly-scented freesias, and it will be augmented by several extra-large Chuppa lollies stuck in here and there. In her latter years, especially when in the home, she often asked visitors for a lollipop (or a stick of rock if we said we were going away for a weekend or a holiday) which were duly brought along on the next visit, greeted with enthusiasm, the popped in her handbang, or a drawer in her room, and then utterly forgotten, and never eaten. The sister-in-law, when she visited Freddie's room the home last week, found lots of lollies about the place, and so was magically inspired to include them in the main floral tribute.
I guess a stranger, viewing the garb of those attending, or the flowers, will assume it was young person, a child even, who has died. In a way, and not just because her dementia ushered in a "second childhood" of fragility and high dependence on others, it would be almost appropriate if they thought that as Our Ma never entirely 100% grew up. It was this fabulous childlike quality (which The Husband has inherited in spades) that made her such a marvellous mother; imaginative, playful, inventive and full of enthusiasm for life.
So it is Girlie (her childhood nickname) we are commemorating, as well as Mrs Winfred Bulmer. And because she lived to fulfil all her potential, and well beyond the average life span, it has that element of remembering the infant and the younger woman, but no sorrowful sense of a life cut short before it had been fully lived. Her life WAS lived, and THEN some!
All of us there will be thinking, I guess, we should be so lucky. Her life has shown us the way to squeeze every last drop of delicious juice, extract every minute of joy and fun, from the energy and time one has been granted on this earth.
Her true memorial will be if we all try to remember to do that, if we can, and not grouse or grumble our way into later life feeling bloody sorry for ourselves.