Simon 's funeral service happened in the church where we were both christened. It was the same church in which funeral services were held for our mother in 2007 and our father in 1979. The same church in which we were choirboys and the same church where we attended Sunday school.
Our parents' coffins were transported to a crematorium but Simon chose to be buried in the churchyard. A plot had been found close to the south wall on which memorial plaques had been affixed - remembering our parents. That was Simon's doing.
My eulogy was well-received. Several people came up to me afterwards and said that I had done well. My aim was to say goodbye to Simon with kind words of remembrance. It was for him and not for me. I was merely the delivery person.
It was emotional to be standing there at the microphone with perhaps sixty attendees in front of me. At times my voice quavered slightly with emotion but I managed to hang on and see it through to the end. I gave him presents every Christmas but this was my last gift to him.
My son Ian flew into London Heathrow this morning. He had been on "The Today Show" in New York City on Thursday morning - cooking up vegan meals with his "Bosh!" partner Henry. I had arranged the funeral for 3pm to give him a better chance to make it up to Yorkshire and he succeeded. It was also great to see my brother Paul's Irish widow Josephine there and one of his sons - Michael. We hadn't seen them in ages.
After the funeral, various local people came up to me with faces that I recognised immediately though some names evaded me. It felt as though I was in the bosom of my extended family - my heartland. The place where I came from. Following the funeral, we assembled in "The New Inn" for a buffet, drinks and remembrance
We gave Simon the best send off we could. If he was looking down on the day, I think he would have been pleased. Upon finishing my eulogy, I headed back to my seat in the front pew and said "Sweet dreams Simon!" as I touched the lid of his coffin. The same words I said to him when I kissed his forehead in the hospice the day before he breathed his last breath.
I think if you can conclude if he was looking down and would be pleased, you presented a good funeral.ReplyDelete
Together we did him proud.Delete
The best gift was your send off with the positive eulogy and excellent get together afterward. If he would have enjoyed his own memorial, that's perfection.ReplyDelete
In the village people accepted him or who he was.Delete
My late husband would have loved his own memorial service--lots of memorabilia from his history, a slide show of his/our past, a John Denver duet from our daughters and a John Denver sing-a-long. Oh, how he loved JD!ReplyDelete
John Denver had a special talent. I used to play and sing "Leaving on a Jet Plane". How brave of your daughters to get up and sing when their hearts were heavy with grief.Delete
"I gave him presents every Christmas but this was my last gift to him."
... was lovely. That says everything.
Thanks for your kind response Bob.Delete
You did very well and it was nice that you felt "at home" with all the familiar faces and surroundings.ReplyDelete
Just as Simon has "gone home" so did I.Delete
Your last memories of him will now, hopefully, be positive ones.ReplyDelete
There's a lot of stuff I have felt unable to say here.Delete
Welling up while I was reading your post, if I were to speak right now my voice would be quavering a bit, too. This was very touching and I am glad that you were able to give your little brother this send-off.ReplyDelete
Also glad that Ian could make it in spite of his super-busy schedule.
It was great that Ian made it there. Thank you Meike.Delete
That's a lovely photo of the two of you to treasure.ReplyDelete
You gave him the best send off any brother could wish for, in spite of his being so resistant to help until the end.
Yes. I like that picture - taken by my father. I am reading a TV Quiz book but Simon is staring right into the camera.Delete
I know that August 5th is a special date to you for a number of reasons, and it sounds as though you negotiated Simon's funeral well too. Those of us who have followed your blog for many years see the ones not mentioned, but YOU were, and you made it about Simon. You did him proud, but you also would have made your father, mother and Paul proud too. Well done Neil. You have a good heart.ReplyDelete
Oh shucks! You just made me cry again Elizabeth!Delete
Well done, Neil. I know how hard it is to write and then deliver a eulogy. I've done it for all of my DH's grandparents. Trying to capture the lifetime of a person--their essence--in a eulogy is no simple task, but clearly you were able to do justice for Simon--a complicated man. So glad Ian made it and that other family members were able to attend as well. A life remembered and celebrated with those who cared--well done, indeed. xReplyDelete
I would love to deliver a eulogy with no paper in my hand - speaking directly to the audience from memory and the heart. But I had written it all down. Thanks Mary.Delete
As we might say around here, "You done good." And you did. You did well and you did good. Now. Time to rest your soul and let all of it settle.ReplyDelete
Some day in the not too distant future, Shirley and I will take a holiday.Delete
And I know that this is neither the time nor place but for Americans, at least, we can watch your darling Ian's appearance on The Today Show right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRBaahWP2C0ReplyDelete
Thanks for posting that link Mary. Much appreciated.Delete
I got so emotional reading this. I think you did him proud, whatever the issues were between you. And I so love that picture of the boys you were.ReplyDelete
Thank you WWW.It wasn't so much issues connected with me but with my parents. My brother in France did not attend.Delete
You did all you could and that must be satisfying. Whatever the problems between you and your brother, you have laid those ghosts to rest and can sleep easy. He would have been proud of your eulogy.ReplyDelete
I have no regrets ADDY.Delete
You really did him proud, Neil. And that photo of the two of you as children is lovely. Hugs.ReplyDelete
Your sympathy card arrived just this morning Jennifer. It now has pride of place on our mantelpiece. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.Delete
You honored your whole family with that lovely funeral, Neil. I am glad it went well. Now you can take a deep breath and relax a bit. Take care!ReplyDelete
Thank you for your kind reflection Ellen.Delete
It's a stressful day when you say a permanent good bye. After it's over we can go on putting our loss in perspective.ReplyDelete
Wise words Keith. Thank you.Delete
A job well done. I think this would be called complicated grief. When my dad died, it was very difficult because he was such a difficult man. When I look back now, over twenty years, I have a clearer picture of my father and wish I could talk to him again but that's not the way it works. I have more compassion for my father now. Time does heal; it smooths down the rough edges that hurt so much.ReplyDelete
Take care Ian.
There were episodes in Simon's life that I could not share here. He was also a difficult man but the thing is that he could not help who he was. He did not choose to be who he became.Delete
I meant, take care Neil. Slapping my head:)Delete
So Simon lies in the churchyard, close to the south wall.ReplyDelete
Now, you have somewhere beautiful to visit and remember him.
*The Good Inn Death.* G.K. Chesterton.
Delivering a eulogy is both an honour and an obligation: it would seem that you performed both in a way that Simon would have liked.ReplyDelete
Thank you Graham. I was determined to honour him.Delete
A most poignant post, Neil, given the difficulties of the relationship and the circumstances you mentioned or alluded to in recent posts. I'm sure it must have been a particularly emotional timet for you given your family's history with that particular church. We were all out here in Blogland pulling for you, and I'm sure you did a superb job of eulogizing your brother. If relatives and townspeople attend, it speaks volumes no matter what else may have occurred..ReplyDelete
Thanks Bob. I wish you had been at the back to raise a score paddle. I might have got an 8 or even a 9. Thanks for your wise earlier reflections.Delete
Proud of youReplyDelete
So kind. Thanks Kylie.Delete
I'm glad it went so well, though it was a sad time. It is a milestone along the way and the symbolic nature of the church where you were both christened and your parents lay buried, ties the knot neatly.ReplyDelete
My parents were cremated but their plaques are on the church wall.Delete
Eulogies are hard to deliver, in my opinion. I couldn't do one at my mum's funeral as I was too emotional but did one for her sister, my Spinster Aunt. She was a 4 foot 10 Boudicca. Not easy to honour but I did my best.ReplyDelete
Glad for you that this can be crossed off the list, so to speak.
I'm sure there will be times of reflection when you realise you did a good job.
Good on you for delivering the small aunt's eulogy!Delete
Beautiful post. Eulogies are hard to write and deliver, but so important. Nicely done.ReplyDelete
And this is why we have funerals -- they're important opportunities for connection among all the living people left behind when someone dies. It sounds like Simon's was a terrific send-off.ReplyDelete