One of my occasional duties is to play the organ at funerals in the village church. Today’s funeral was that of the aged aunt of a friend of mine. She was, it appears, a brilliant and feisty woman who led a dashing and quite unusual life.
By the nature of funerals, most of them are for old people and, even if you have known them, you often don’t realise just how interesting their lives have been and how notable have been their accomplishments. There may have been a particular event that stands out – like Violet, who received a medal for running down the railway track to successfully stop a train before it crashed into the car accident at the crossing gate. It might be a whole life story, like Doreen, who lived all her eighty years on the same farm, and in whose memory Flixton church was packed yesterday. There have been people I did not know in their lifetime, but by the end of whose funeral I have felt a sense of loss, that I have forever missed the opportunity to meet them.
I was chatting, a while ago, to the wife of our former Rector and we admitted that we had both, ages ago, chosen our funeral hymns. But neither of us has told anyone what they are. It seems a bit premature and maybe too self-absorbed. But I was quite cheered – she seems quite normal really, but she is actually as illogical as I am.