Our May was very insistent that no black should be worn at her funeral this afternoon. Bright colours, please! was her request.
Accordingly I donned my brightest shirt
and my bright red jacket in May's honour - did I look OK, I asked Mr B? "There's bright, and there's bright," was his slightly enigmatic response.
Mr B doesn't generally "do" bright but he did his level best
by wearing a lighter jacket than usual. As he said, tellingly, I was probably bright enough for both of us.
Having been warned by various people that parking was difficult in the vicinity of the Funeral Parlour
where the ceremony was to be held, we had taken a recce a few days earlier to suss out the nearest car park, the distance from the venue and likely travel time. To the latter we had to add an extra ten minutes, having offered a lift to our friends, Delia and
Jim. You must admit that, apart from the brightness of Mr B's attire, we were very well prepared.
You may be thinking that deaths and subsequent funerals feature quite a lot in the Daily Blog. This is, I fear,
a natural consequence of reaching what Young Faris likes to term A Great Age. And if the Daily Blog is to be a reasonably accurate diary of my daily life then I can hardly brush over the more solemn aspects as if they never existed.
Not that May's funeral was of the solemn kind; when you have reached the fabulous age of 94 there is much to celebrate about a Life Well Lived. There were no fewer than twenty of us there representing the Worthing U3A (University of
the Third Age) and we were definitely proof, if proof were needed, that May had enjoyed her final years.
The photograph on the front of the Order of Service depicted May as a highly glamorous young woman.
How old was she when the photograph was taken? I asked her elder son. It was before he was born, he thought, so she was probably in her twenties. That's one of the things I like about funerals - the story they tell of a person's life and times, often, as in
this case, long before I made their acquaintance.
May had chosen her own Order of Service which included one of her favourite songs, Abba's "Dancing Queen". There were smiles all round as everyone thought
of May dancing along in heaven and doubtless berating any poor, sad souls who were holed up in the bar, refusing to get up to join the dance. Both her sons gave us their own memories while our friend Jean contributed a touching eulogy on behalf of the U3A,
including some of the stories about May, as a member of our Nomination Whist group, which I have shared with you in previous blogs.
The most memorable moment for me came from a friend of May's son whom she
had asked to play a song with guitar accompaniment. He was amazed, he confessed by way of introduction, that she had made such a request based on his youthful music-making which was the last time she had heard him sing and play. He could only hope, he said,
that his guitar playing had improved since he took it up again just eighteen months ago. "I wonder what he's going to play?" I whispered to Mr B. We didn't have long to wonder as he started to strum the Kinks' 1968 song "Thank you for the days."
Dear May. Mother, grandmother, aunt, great aunt, cousin, friend - former nurse and ward sister, ace performer who adored nothing more than treading the boards and bringing enjoyment to an audience, intrepid card player.
The Kinks, indeed, said it all, speaking particularly to those who knew her best and loved her most - but also to us who knew her for just a short time but were inspired by her love of life, her positive thinking, her indomitable spirit:
Thank you for the days
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I'm thinking of the days
won't forget a single day, believe me.
RIP, dear May. I'm sure you'll be keeping them royally entertained in Heaven.