A couple of months ago I went to the funeral of a family friend. A truly lovely man who’d been an ‘Uncle’ to me growing up – you know, not actually a blood relation, but I’m of the era when friends of your parents were called Auntie and Uncle.
They lived in Solihull (posh!) and had a stream running through the back of their garden (super posh!) – and I remember many a happy sunny afternoon creating dams to block it – or finding fish and other wildlife.
A few years ago I had bumped into this ‘Uncle’ at a mutual friend’s house – and he had been incredulous that little old me was driving a Lexus 4×4 (it was a hybrid and cool at the time!) consequently I quite enjoyed turning up to his funeral in my Porsche 911 (even if it was a bit of a squash in the car park) – he would have been suitably impressed!
I arrived for the service with my parents and one of my Mum’s sisters and her husband. I was accused of being their other sister!! Now admittedly that Auntie is 9 years older than me – but about 5 stone lighter – so I took it as a massive compliment!! I was also slightly nervous about what to wear – as the Auntie (blood relative this time!) in attendance is a colour consultant – but thankfully I passed the test as she told me how nice I looked – phew!
There are loads of old family friends at the funeral too (old friends in both senses of the word!) One family we’d actually stayed with when we were between houses when I was a child. One of their sons was a few years older than me (can I point out I was 2 at the time) and I was completely in awe of him (apparently – I don’t remember at all!) Anyway – whilst we were staying at their house I was suffering with awful constipation (can I reiterate I was 2 – although still potentially TMI!) and therefore spent a lot of time sat on the toilet. This time was not wasted (have you met my mother?!) and so I learned my letters of the alphabet from objects to hand. Therefore the V-I-M from the household cleaner kept in the bathroom. The M was for Mark – who was the son in question (and also, coincidentally, now my husband’s name!!) My father must have recounted this anecdote about ONE MILLION times during the funeral (not the actual service – that would have been disrespectful – but before and after to other attendees!!) . The Mark in question was present – and is now a senior consultant at a local hospital and one of the UK’s leading expert on certain diseases – yep, wasn’t embarrassing at all!
But whilst we’re talking about embarrassing – a couple of times we were asked to move through to the buffet – to which my Mum (remember, I’m a 43 year old grown up) told people that I wouldn’t want to eat much as I was low carbing as I was trying to lose weight!! Thankfully the spread was prolific (M&S I think) and the cheese options were fabulous so my low carbing self was catered for. I eschewed the amazing cakes too #polisheshalo
The service itself was so moving – he was really a loved man by his family – right down to Great Grandkids – but also friends too. The singing was rousing (my Dad leading the harmonies – he’s legendary!) and emotional. So lovely to celebrate the life of a truly gentle man.