After a eternity as me and my grieving stoic father sat languidly in the funeral car directly behind the hearse containing my mothers decaying corpse. Then the rest of the funeral attendees got inside their respective vehicles and we could proceed to the church. It was a long arduous journey as we travelled at a agonising snaillike pace. My father and i sat in complete silence never uttering a single word to each other. I just sat with my haunted eyes observing the grim bleak landscape of my hometown on a drab soggy October morning. I looked at the heavens no sign of sun just a skyline covered entirely with bleak grey clouds threatening to erupt in a torrential downpour at any moment. For now though as we traversed to the church the rain ceased falling. My eyes were fixed on the road not wanting to look into the abyss of sadness that was my fathers despairing eyes.
I could see the church appearing on the road ahead. Dread and anxiety permeated my entire body i tried diligently to hold back the tears not show the world my father my family my mums friends the depths of my pain. My empty stomach rumbled i felt faint as if I could collapse or throw up at any moment. The colour drained from my face my hands were shacking i tried to maintain a control of my body despite the horrific reality of witnessing my mums funeral at the tender age of 13. My didn’t seem to notice my mini anxiety attack or a feeling of nausea i managed to conceal that from him. He was too lost in the darkness of his tortured mind living in his head pretending to camouflage his emotions by maintain a austere veneer.
He pulled up outside the church the hearse was their my mums body inside the funeral car. I looked at it intensely as the cavalcade of funeral mourners descended on the church to attend a forlorn religious ceremony. Again i felt overcome with a weakness i gritted my teeth bit my lip to hold back the waterfall of emotion that wanted to be get out. However i was a stereotypical middle class repressed english girl who was constitutionally unable to disclose my pain. Like my father and mum I concealed my emotional torment in the recesses of my fractured psyche.
Then it began the designated pallbearers we’re ready to carry my mums funeral casket into the church I looked at the casket with horror then i was told kindly by my father to go inside the church and sit in the front row. I walked inside this cavernous majestic church in my black gothic dress feeling so vulnerable. My lips quivered as i sauntered inside not knowing what to do with my body or how appropriately conduct myself. I perceived all these eyes on me judging my comportment on this dreadful occasion. Finally I reached my destination on the front row with my Irish grandparents from my mums side and my mums sister for company. Then i heard the sound of the pallbearers including my father struggling to carry my mums cumbersome casket. They huffed and puffed carry it under great strain but eventually were successful in carrying the casket onto the altar situated behind the priest. My father sat next to me as this scared solemn ceremony began. The priest gave a eloquent impassioned eulogy paying homage to my mum a charismatic affable extrovert who died so a tragically at the tender age of 39. He lamented her passing in his opening remarks as the fellow mourners were brought to tears with his kind words.
The priest said “Receive the Lord’s blessing. The Lord bless you and watch over you. The Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord look kindly on you and give you peace; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.”Congregation: ” Amen.”
Then he delivered his poignant remarks that moved the majority of the congregation to tears apart from me who was paralysed with shock throughout the duration of this ceremony.
The priest said “. We are gathered here today to pay homage to the live of corrina wood who died tragically at the age of 39. She died unexpectedly in her home. Corrina was a warm affable women who brought colour and light into the lives of anybody she became acquainted with. She is survived by a loving respectable husband and a loving daughter. He cannot hide or deny the tragedy of her death to die so young not in her sleep or from a terminal illness but from self inflicted death. We must not resort to anger at her desperate decision to end her life. We cannot be laden with guilt at not recognising the signs of her internal pain. We must honour her life cherish the happy memories of a well lived enrich life. Friends and family of corrina must not let her memory fade away always carry her indelible memories in her hearts. I as a priest do not blame castigate corrina for her decision to end her life i feel a weight of immense sadness at losing a fellow parishioner. We have to remember all the joy the love she bestowed upon all of us. We must see the death of corrina as a example that life is finite precarious and precious. It will be over sooner than we think that whilst we are alive we must be diligent in savouring the luscious fruits of life and taking time to smell the roses. Yes today and the coming weeks months we will mourn the lamentable passing of corrina but never forget her memory the iridescent light she shone her devotion to her family. Her assiduous commitment to help the poor through her tireless charity work and her passion for music. Their are countless stories I’ve heard of past students that corrina vehement love of classical music impacted their life. I’ve heard anecdotes from family members of her infinite love impacted their life. I conclude this initial eulogy in never forget corrina whether you’re a lifelong friend or a dotting husband or loving daughter or a distant relative”
He concluded his impassioned unrestrained emotional charged erudite eulogy I looked around and saw a sea of teary eyed mourners. Whilst I wanted desperately to unleash my grief but remained a austere demure demeanour holding back the tears. My father like myself kept his lip stiff never breaking the stoic persona. I was paralysed with shock unable to adequately process the grief feeling almost catatonic. Wanting to escape the hell of witnessing my mothers funeral at the tender fragile age of 13…….