Going to your funeral

We were told by the vicar that we would be unlikely to remember much of the day.

I remember fragments but mainly the practicalities.  Really odd things like walking through the cemetary to the crematorium taking photos as I went so that I could send people a photo map of how to walk to the crematorium.

cemetery entrance

Walking around the cemetary whilst waiting for another funeral to finish so I could hand in a CD of the music we wanted to play at the service.  Being overwhlemed by the sheer number of tiny graves and their minature shrines of flowers and soft toys.  Being really overwhelmed by the tiny graves seemingly abandoned and forgotten with only bedraggled teddies watching over them.

I’m not even sure why I walked round the cemetery. The boys would not be buried there and there would be no headstone. There was a tacit agreement that we wouldn’t bury them in a place we had no belief that we would stay. [A smaller part of it was that I haven’t had good experiences of burying ashes and found it more depressing and distressing than the funeral or cremation itself.]

Picking the music for the service was difficult. It had to have the right tone and length. I trawled through my collection of appropriate Classical music but nothing felt right. It was either too clichéd or too long or had weird tone shifts or spikes in volume.

The only thing that seemed to hit the right notes (boom tish) were some beautiful tracks from Final Fantasy.  Just the right balance between stately and melancholy without being cheesy.

This was the music playing as we all filed in.

This marked the sound of people leaving and us going to spend a private moment with the tiny wicker baskets (we were adamant there would be no tiny coffins) before they were cremated.

The funeral itself was a blur.  Mainly of tears and fevered hand holding.  One of the things that I respected about the vicar conducting the service was that he knew that we had him there for our families not for us and he made no attempt to offer God based words of comfort or even commit the dread sin (hah!) of trying to persuade us that the death of our sons was part of some cosmic plan.

He still delivered a sermon along those lines because that’s the standard.  I provided a eulogy for him to read that was based on the note we put out to family and friends informing them of the news and what would go on our justgiving donation page.

Pretty much that and weeping at the sight of tiny baskets with little teddy bear shaped nameplates and lots of hand holding and ever so discreet wiping of noses.  After gathering ourselves together we had a slow ride back to the pub in the funeral car for a reception where friends were waiting.  It was a good time.  The pub looked after us, we both drank silly amounts of booze (yet felt no drunkeness or hangover) and spoke of comforting things and stories of what could have been, should have been and such.

And then we went home.

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. I just don’t know what to say….you are amazing for writing this. #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thank you for reading. It’s not an easy one but it does have some beautiful tunes.


  2. This has humbled me X

    Thinking of you xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thank you. Your website name made me smile. I will visit soon!


  3. This is truly a beautiful piece of writing and you’ve completely stilled me – not sure I want to read any other posts today as what you’ve been through is so painful – your loss so great – I don’t know how you read about us moaning about our children – it’s gross and unfair. I almost didn’t read this post as I knew it would be sad and then as I passed over it I checked myself – I had the luxury just to walk on by and not face what you had written and that is not kind – a friend of mine went through a very similar thing as you but with girls – there are no words and you are very brave for writing this – the written word can be a truly beautiful thing to bring a degree of peace. Thank you for sharing and hopefully putting things in to perspective again #Stayclasssy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Don’t feel guilty about moaning about your children! My cubs drive me mad and I love them fiercely.

      The love I have for my lost sons is different as in the war poem, age will not weary them. For me (at this point, it changes from day to day) they are forever preserved at day one. It’s difficult to imagine them as the four going on five year olds they should be.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. min1980 says:

    This is a beautiful post, and must have been hard to write. I love your comment above as well about age not wearying your sons, as in the war poem. That’s a really touching way of explaining your love for them and I guess goes some way to explaining what it must be like for those of us who are fortunate enough not to have gone through an experience like this. Thanks for linking up to #StayClassy and you certainly haven’t spoiled the party.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You describe the whole experience so beautifully, I almost felt as if I was there with you. I’m aware that this must have been hard to write, so thank you for sharing. This puts life into perspective and reminds me of how everything is so precious. Thanks again for linking up with #StayClassy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think that the things you remember and chose to express and the way in which you expressed them are beautiful. The things that we pick up on and remember in these moments seem so random, but are somehow part of the fabric of our story with our loved ones. Thank you for sharing this as hard as I know that it was. #BrilliantBlogPosts

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ljdove23 says:

    I’m so “glad” (and that feels like the wrong word entirely) that you shared this, it’s so brave of you to share these posts and also so important to share your memories of those times, however tragic. It’s funny the things you remember from the funeral, my lasting memory, which extraordinarily over the years has made us all laugh, is of my ex husband holding the tiny casket in his arms for the duration of the graveside service and him crying those awful, snotty sobs, but being unable to wipe his nose for holding onto our baby. He turned to me at one point and said please can you wipe my nose, and we had all laughed out loud, glad of the brief respite from the crying. Seems like such a long time ago now. Much love. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. thesingleswan says:

    I don’t know what to say, other than you are so brave for writing this. thank you. #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

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