I don’t recall it, and I doubt I’d have forgotten, so if you would be so good Armers…
Go on, go on; that’s not half the story!
Tell us how she got out of the grave
And why nobody stopped her
OK. Well, you have the big punchline, but the rest is good.
I was about 10 and had become the ‘go to’ altar boy for funerals at the church next to my junior school. I was used to the usual list of older people being in the box and sad, sometimes very upset mourners, but this one was unusual; the man had died very suddenly, a heart attack, and well below 40 years old.
The widow, was distraught. Not upset, or weeping but utterly bereft. She cried, long & loud. She needed holding up. Even at 10 this was more than I was used to.
She was early 30’s (as a 10 year old that might as well be close to 80, of course), very pretty … (had her mascara not made her look like a scary clown in black & white). Exceptionally well dressed and … odd that I noticed … a very attractive lady, in other circumstances.
The coffin was carried in & put onto the stands, next to her. The wailing & sobbing went to new levels. Every time the priest used his name, or said words like “dead”, or “death” off she went. Seriously, I’m not criticising, but I’d seen 30 or 40 funerals by this time and this was a step change higher than any I’d seen so far.
The service ended. I noticed Fr. Murphy had cut it as short as he could. Even he, the wizzened, aggressive, unempathetic, humourless, tight-mouthed little Christian Brother from Cork, saw that the lady needed no delay.
The coffin was carried to the hearse. It was a wicked, windy, wet day. She was more or less carried to the undertaker’s vehicle, stumbling 2 or 3 times. I saw the pall bearers look knowingly at each other. Clearly they’d seen this before, many times but it still seemed a bit beyond the norm, even to them.
We reached the cemetery. It overlooks the West Pennine moors and Rivington Pike. Cold & windy on a goodd day, it lies on a hill. The funeral party made its slippy way to the grave. The requisite 6ft of hole with banks of claggy, clay mud nearby. The widow remained wiped out by it all. One of the undertaker’s staff held an umbrella pointlessly over her as the wind blew the rain in all directions … but mostly in horozontal swirls. Two mourners held her, one by each arm, as she slumped, head down, sobbing. Her hat ruined by the torrent as Fr. Murphy dashed through the words.
It came to the moment ; the coffin was lowered, her cries achieved new levels of distress. “… Earth to Earth …” and a box of soil, also sodden, was held to the lady and she took some into her gloved hand and threw it onto the coffin … as she jumped in after it. Fully 4 foot, possibly more. She landed on the wet, mud-strewn wooden box and lay on it, beating it, screaming “don’t go … don’t leave me”.
The priest looked on in frustration. The undertaker’s men glaced at each other and two, silently, climbed down. Their black Crombie’s covered in clay mud they gently prized her from the cofffin and stood her up. Two others came to the grave edge and between the 4 lifted her from the hole. It was an inelegant sight. She needed a couple of helping shoves to get to the top and, my abiding memory, as she was raised past me, was the open-palmed shape of a muddy hand on the arse of her beautifully tailored black coat.
Oh, post script. She was remarried within the year.
Wouldn’t have been half so much fun on a dry day, without the handprint.
Dear Lord! We’ll not be having histrionics such as that, Armers, no matter how many Bonkers Cousins we must endure. Cremations offer fewer dramatic opportunities - I hope.
Thank you for kindly wishes - the weather is looking a bit rubbish:
Anyhoo - I’ll bee off to bed. Kind wishes to Carinthia for another Monday and to joe, for the horrible leg stuff.
I hope that you took the Gin wiv you, Soo …
Candle is lit & Tenters will be Hitched
A Nurse friend of mine was responsible for summoning 2 separate Ambulances to the Crem. when 2 mourners had heart attacks
She has dined out on the story fer years
There’s nowt like a good funeral yarn, is there ?
My brother-in-law was at a family funeral when a cousin sidled up to him and said, eyeing a frail, elderly relative knowingly, ‘We’re going to have another one of these soon, aren’t we?’
I’m glad to say he was quite wrong. Apparently the one-foot-in-the-grave one survived many more years, I hope just to spite the gloomy one.
LadySusan who knows the case better can correct me if I’ve got any details wrong, but only if it makes a better story, dear sis!
JJ, you have that pretty well spot on The cousin was referring to his own mother who did indeed live on for some time more, I bet she overheard him and decided to make him wait a bit longer for his inheritance !!
Every wedding and funeral should be the direct cause of at least one more wedding or funeral, preferably both.
(Do not allow me to organise your wedding. Or funeral.)
Thank you Armers
That has me giggling helplessly
I remember my friend Mary’s funeral
Now consider me Methodist reared so not au fait with the complex goings on at a good Irish funeral who was the one making the coffin spray with lots of anthirrium lillies (the deceased had asked for them before she died)
I duly made said spray with as much care and love as I could
Then I took it to the funeral parlour so it could be placed atop the coffin
The coffin chosen and paid for by the deceased was a splendid affair with a huge (about three foot long) brass crucifix
How do you attach a floral arrangement on top of a huge brass Jesus?
Well, there’s at least 3 nails !
Armers that caused a tea/screen interface!
Thanks for cheering up a drear dismal grey day
It hovers there, held up by divinity. (The cunning arranger places the shin of an antipope inside the spray to make sure it is properly repelled.)
The thought of Pooley and O’Mally near a dignified ceremony is scary wee birdie
Meanwhile, searching for things to eat for supper in the fridge led to one of those times when you realise that having a Saving Disposition is no earthly good if you then forget what you have Saved and it sits there growing whiskers.
The cheeses are all ok, though.
Even the ones doing Menacing Growling?
Ah. Defending their territory. I see.
Cheese is capable of defending itself in my experience
Especially blue goat’s cheese
But how do you get the goat blue in the first place?
(Pub conversation earlier on multi-coloured wool, clearly dyed on the sheep. Shotgun full of paint pellets. Bang, sploodge, baaaaah.)
Candle still burning here,& Tenters are Still Hitched
It has Hissed it down all afternoon
I hope that the Poorlies & Mourners are ok , or have, at least some sustenance