A dignified send-off for mum. Lovely sunny day. Siblings and families arrived by noon. Lovely to see everyone despite the circumstances.
The funeral cortege arrived at 2pm with the undertaker walking slowly and respectfully in front of the hearse, like they did in the days of horse & carriage. He bowed to mum's coffin bedecked with flowers (not too many, just right), before greeting us. We set off, and for the first few hundred yards the undertaker walked in front again.
THere was a large crowd of friends and relatives waiting outside the crematorium. Andrew, Patrick, Ben and I shouldered the coffin into the chapel. Heavier than I was expecting and we had to really concentrate. The service was nice & dignified, led by Father Paul who had only arrived in Chichester three months ago but paced it well and talked about the link betwen mum and St Richard's through grandad's paintings. Patrick did a great job with the printed Order of Service, and the music (Andreas Scholl singing Vivaldi, and Bach's Tears of Grief from St Matthew's Passion), though sad, was comforting.
Florence read a poem by Joyce Grenfell, we all sang Jerusalem and I read the eulogy which went alright, just a tiny quaver at the end. It was very emotional of course, but not miserable as I was half-expecting. Then out into the fresh air to talk with relatives and friends, some of whom I'd not seen in over 10 years. Ben had flown in from Ethiopia, cousin David from Norway, the rest from all over Britain.
The wake was at Millstream Hotel in the village of Bosham, where nana & grandad and mum had lived in the late 40s & early 50s. Caught up with everyone: a good turnout with all the surviving uncles & aunts on both sides of the family, many cousins, neighbours, friends... so nice that Simon & Chris were there.
And finally back to the house, forever 'home', just immediate family. The children (who were fantastically well-behaved all day) played together, the adults reminiscing. Aside from the fact that I still can't believe this has just happened, it was as good a send-off as one could have imagined.