My last blog was actually written in the car heading back to Liverpool for my Dad's last party. I had stayed up late on Thursday night not wanting the next day to arrive, pretty much the reverse of a child being willing to go to bed early on Christmas Eve. We had a really early start but all the animals had to be taken care of before we left.
It really was all about Dad. The Celibrant and Humanist, Anthony Roberts-Moore took the service and he had spent hours finding out all he could about Dad, he had decided that he was a person he would have liked and proved this by getting emotional himself. He had us all laughing as well as crying and I was so proud that there was standing room only and the doors had to be left open so that people could stand outside and still hear. There were references to people that Dad had loved and that loved him. Even 'Sue's Specials' got a mention. This is a lady who used to cook an extra meal and send her husband to deliver them in his Jag. I'm still not convinced that Dad was in the coffin with everything else that was put in there with him. We are hedging our bets a bit here as it was full of his favourite things and presents from some of his grandchildren. Dad used to go on holiday every year with friends and they became knows as 'The Benidorm Boys', one of their routines was to see who could buy the worst shirt while they were away and have a competition. They carried the coffin in and had asked if they could have their last bad shirt day, we thought Dad would have loved that so obviously said 'Yes'. The looks the cortege got as we headed to the crem was hilarious.
Anthony recited a poem by Joyce Grenfall which really pleased me. My sister hadn't known about the connection with this but we were listening to her records before she was born and I was given Joyce's middle name as Dad was such a fan. The only thing that Anthony had difficulty with was the word 'Bainbridgisms', this is always used in reference to Dad's quips and jokes.
Anthony finished the service with this poem, we had never heard it before but apparently it is a classic.
Our parents cast long shadows over our lives. When we grow up we imagine that we can walk into the sun, free of them. We don't realize until it's too late that we have no choice in the matter; they're always ahead of us.
We carry them within us all our lives, in the shape of our face, the way we walk, the sound of our voice, our skin, our hair, our hands, our heart. We try all our lives to separate ourselves from them and only when they are dead do we find we are indivisible.
We grow to expect that our parents, like the weather, will always be with us. Then they go, leaving a mark like a handprint on glass or a wet kiss on a rainy day, and with their death we are no longer children.
As we came out after the service there was a fly-past and everybody commented on it. It really hadn't been arranged by any of us but it was perfect timing and had us all laughing again. Everybody said what a brilliant service it had been with most people saying it was the best funeral they had ever been to. The wake/party afterwards was brilliant with an emotional speech from my Uncle Don (Dad's brother)which set us off again and then the 'Bainbridgisms' were passed around and we were all laughing again. I was given a signed book of poetry from the author who knew Dad.
The only problem my sister and I now have is accepting that Dad isn't with us any more because I went to phone him on Saturday to tell him what a great day we had had. He would have loved it.