Or at least,I think you do.
Yesterday, I was due to bury the ashes of a gentleman whose funeral I conducted a few weeks ago. I’ve been seeing a fair bit of his widow, a member of the congregation whose slightly demented demeanour belies huge stocks of wisdom and thoughtfulness. BUT she is deafer than the proverbial post. This matters not a jot when we are bellowing about our eternal destinies in the privacy of her home, but as we waited for her husband’s ashes in the churchyard, things felt rather different. At one point the exchange went something like this (all at the tops of our voices)
Widow “I don’t know why some people make such a fuss about where their bodies end up. It’s only packaging after all”
K “Yes, but it’s been precious, much-loved packaging. Sometimes it’s hard for people to see beyond it”
Widow “All the same, I think it’s very selfish. Grief is very selfish, isn’t
it Kathryn? Don’t you think so?”
K (trying to work out correct pastoral response, when surrounded by other members of the family who are visibly grieving…but knowing full well that any reasoned discussion about us all having different ways to handle such things would sound utterly ludicrous when offered fortissimo)
“Ummm………oh look, there’s the funeral director. Shall we get on with the service…”
The whole situation was compounded by the hammering of workmen on the church roof, (so normal conversation was tricky even for the sharpest ears)…and by the fact that a 2 year old great granddaughter was attempting a “Full Monty” performance on a low set table tomb throughout. Her mother remained impassive until the nappy, and our verger was nearly ill with suppressed laughter. Good to know that we made someone happy!