O still voice of calm.
What makes a great funeral? I’ve been to moving ones where there just a handful of people and dull ones where the place was packed. They can be as memorable as weddings, they are after all great family occasions, for some reason christenings don’t feature.
Music may be the food of love but it also helps funerals. The fact that most of those of so carefully chosen , emotionally read,“ now you are gone” poems are barely heard and less understood makes them irrelevant. Good hymns make good church. Singing brings us together. Singing a good hymn makes you worship on many levels, the dull mumbling of a bad one makes you realise the futility of going to church.
Yesterday a great service for neighbour Michael at the pre Raphaelite All Saints on Putney Common. The gay ex actor Rev tried his best to make the mainly atheist congregation feel that they were in the right place. The service bookended by Dear Lord and Father of Mankind and the even meatier Guide me Oh Thy great Redeemer. Who does not think of the passion of Welsh rugby as they belt out Feed me now and evermore.
A packed church, with those wanted to make their last goodbye to the economist. We had walked and talked, he was massively pro European and I was a sceptic so we had agreed to disagree. But a good guy , who even at the sad and predictable end never lost his sense of humour or his dignity.
Typically while too many have My Way or the Match of the Day tune played at their service hugely educated Michael had the best parts of Faure’s Requiem sung. Class act. One of the stars of the after service party was the Marie Curie nurse who talked about how much the love of the family and friends meant.
And so just as adult hood comes when you realise your parents will die so old age comes as friends die and you have to cross names out of the address book. Michael is not the first and wont be the last. Two days ago my sister in Canada phoned and said that having survived the knife the best the chemo can give is “a few years”. An old school friend emailed a racing tip yesterday. It was favourite and came in unplaced.