On Friday the funeral for my Mum’s Husband Anthony took place. We drove north to Buckley on Thursday night and stopped at my Mum’s for two nights along with my Mum’s sister Auntie Enid and her husband Uncle Jim.
The funeral took place early on the Friday at ten in the morning and we went in a limousine from Mum’s to the church two miles away. Anthony was a deeply religious man, a follower of the Catholic faith who almost became a Priest himself in his younger years.The consensus was that it was a lovely service, that Anthony himself would have approved of and My Mum was of that view too. Personally, I am not a Catholic and it left me feeling a bit separate and distant from it all. The taking of communion was done – a declaration of faith. This becomes a three tier event, full communion for Catholics, a kind of half communion where you cross your hands across your chest, I think this is for when you are not a full member of the Catholic Church and finally those who do not partake in this statement of faith at all.
As well as the Communion, incense is used. The incense is symbolic of the prayers rising to God. When a body is incensed not only are they praying for the one who once occupied that body, but they are also praying that the soul of this person will “rise to God” as the incense rises. More practically incense also has the quality of being able to mask the body odour of a large chunk of humanity crammed into a coffin back in the Middle Ages…
There is also a lot of prayers said which demand a standard response from the congregation and this again made me feel very separate from the service. The Communion, the incense, the prayers are important elements to The Catholic service and I am quite sure Anthony would have approved of it all and that is the important thing here, it gave a deeply religious man the funeral service he would have wanted. To my eyes though in all honesty it seemed to be a service more about the Catholic Church and less about Anthony.
My view though is frankly irrelevant here, the service brought peace and comfort to My Mum, his family and everyone else there who loved and respected Anthony.
From the service we had a long drive, almost an hour to the cemetary in Sandiway where Anthony was laid to rest. Any burial is always very emotional.
Anthony was 86 when he died but although he had become frail and in poor health in the last year of his life, he had continued to have a full life right to the end and it was less than a month before his death that Chrissie (Peanut) and I went out with Mum and Anthony for a Chinese meal in Chester. He had half a lager and we smiled at his words, ” That lager is lovely!”
Anthony and my Mum had been married for 18 years and they had given each other a lot of fun and happiness in that time and had enjoyed many lovely holidays together and I know that my Mum in her sadness will draw comfort from those memories.