Home » Yorkshire » A good send off

A good send off

Well if that is at all possible for a funeral, I have to say I think my mum had one.

T and I had travelled up to Yorkshire on Sunday 9th February ready for her funeral on Monday 10th.

Walking into my mums house, was to say the least, very emotional this time. All previous visits had been a total whirlwind of trips to the hospital, constant phone calls to various folk and visits from carers etc.
Looking around this time, I found myself fixating on her treasured collection of ornaments, paintings and photos, that were ‘my mum’ They’d always been part of her home, though I’d never really noticed them before. Now here they were, crying out for her to look at them and dust them. In an odd sort of way, they looked lost and alone.
Deb, our younger daughter arrived soon after, breaking my thoughts.

We’d booked the Travellers Rest for after the funeral service, so decided we’d pop there for something to eat, and to make sure everything was in hand.
I’d also done a montage of photos of mums life, and wanted to make sure they could display them somewhere.

Next day, we headed to Harrogate Crematorium for the 12.20pm service.
I had painful memories of my dad’s funeral cars doing the drive from house to crematorium fourteen years ago, so I’d chosen to meet the funeral car there. The journey still wasn’t pleasant, but I felt happier going at a more normal speed without the obvious stares that a funeral cortège attracts.

The crematorium was full, many faces I didn’t know, but all friends of mum who’s paths she had crossed during her lifetime.

The service was performed by Jim the hospital chaplain, a truly lovely person who I’d met for the first time at my mums bedside.
He’d asked me questions about mum a couple of days after she passed away, so he could get a feel for the type of person she was. The eulogy he spoke, in his gentle Geordie lilt was so beautiful and heartfelt.
I’d chosen a couple of songs from a Susan Boyle CD, who I knew my mum liked.
Wild Horses‘ (actually a Stones song) for the processional music and ‘How Great Thou Art‘ for the recessional music. With the firm favourite ‘Jerusalem’ sung by a choir mid service.

After the service we headed for the Travellers Rest for the wake.
The montages I’d made were displayed around the room and they’d put on a beautiful spread of food.
Everyone was mingling with each other and chatting with memories of my mum, even Jim the chaplain turned up. The atmosphere was lovely with a warmth of feeling everywhere.
Deb raised a glass in celebration of my mums life, and everyone reciprocated with a hearty and resounding ‘KATH’

Yes, if a funeral can be good, my mums definitely was.

Click on the four small images above to see the photo montages.

Mum&Dad 1Mum (1929-2014) & Dad (1920-2000) how I like to remember them

18 thoughts on “A good send off

  1. Jerusalem never fails to give me goosebumps.

    Here, all the traffic stops when there’s a funeral procession.

    I also found it odd to walk in to my mother’s home when she was gone, even though I knew it so well.

    • Hi Reb,
      I think the hymn Jerusalem affects many, many folk in the same way too.
      Phew, I bet the traffic stopping is emotional for the folk in the precession.
      Isn’t it odd, I’d been to my mums house many times while she was in hospital, but not once did it feel as empty as it did last Sunday 😦

      • It was a very odd feeling … after all she still lived in the place where I grew up, so I knew it inside out! Still, it felt that weird.. my brother, who was with me, said the same thing.

  2. That was a lovely post Vicky, but I still ended up with tears in my eyes 😦

    I didn’t realise it was a crem service. My parents wanted church for some totally unknown reason, which is pretty difficult when there were only a dozen or so people, well maybe into the teens.

    The montages were a lovely idea, do hope people enjoyed looking at them. The Travellers Rest looked a good place too.

    I think a wake is a good thing for everyone. It provides a finishing off to the whole procedure and gives people a chance to relax after the formality of a service. Adrian’s stepfather’s brother hosted Tommy’s (stepdad) wake and it was superb. His Aunty Margaret had baked a kitchen tablefull of cakes, I’m surprised it didn’t collapse. It was there that I learned the typical ‘ham tea’ was a good thing for everyone really to generally talk about the deceased person and generally catch up with friends and family.

    I enjoyed not so much my dad’s funeral, but having all the family back to my mum’s home. Because I’d decided it would be family only, it was very relaxed and quite intimate.

    For my mum’s Adrian walked with the cortège. I’d have liked to have done that for my dad, but my mum wanted me in the car. The funeral director was really pleased A had done that, and said he wished I’d done it too. Good for business I suppose. I saw a Methodist procession in the village at one point, and it was a fantastic turn-out, really impressive. I think it is important to respect our loved ones, and also important for ourselves to feel that we have indeed given them a good send off. I’m sure your mum and dad would be pleased.

    • Thanks K 🙂
      Funny, of all the blog posts I’ve written, it was one of the ones that flowed the easiest.
      Both my parents had requested a crem service, and the chapel there is a warm friendly place, I’m pleased, as I find churches cold and depressing.
      My dad’s wake was at their house, and was very similar to yours by your description.
      The other thing that was most noticeable was the weather, it was a bright and sunny day, with beautiful blue skies. The only day like that in the weeks of grey skies and rain we’ve had.

  3. A good life, and a good send off. The photo montages are wonderful. I like how you included different aspects and times of your Mum’s life, that I imagine many people who attended had a connection with. I find wakes reassuring. I’ve been to the occasional funeral where there wasn’t a wake, and after the funeral service when everyone left it felt disjointed. Whereas with a wake people get together whether they know each other well or not, chat, and somehow seem to be reassured. And after a wake our memories and thoughts are not just of the loss but of the life of the person being celebrated, remembered and gathered together for.

    • That is so true ED, it would have felt unfinished and everyone would have gone straight home feeling sad.
      The wake was a perfect opportunity to turn the sadness into a celebration of mums life.
      I think she’d have enjoyed it 🙂

  4. Looks like it was a happy life, Vicky 🙂 She didn’t stray very far from Hull. Where was Dad born? They’re both at peace now but you’ll find it strange for a while yet.

    • She’d had her ups and downs health wise, but in general, I’d say she was happy.
      Dad was born in Hull too.
      We lived in Leeds until I was eighteen, then moved to Worcestershire, but they moved back eighteen months later because they didn’t like it here.
      My roots are now severed 😥

  5. Such a beautiful ‘send off’ indeed Vicky and I am sure your mom would have loved it. Great photo’s of her and your dad. You were truly blessed. 😀

    • The thing that hit me most was all her friends that turned up, all from different times of her life. One friend my mum had known for over sixty years. 🙂

  6. how lovely that so many people could be there. a beautiful ‘send off’, Vicky. i remember the day of my Dad’s funeral (we called it a Celebration of Life). i ended up playing the piano, because i know it is something he would have liked, and i was very conscious of the fact that this was the very last thing i would be doing for him. he always had enjoyed to hear me play. i am sure people were praying for me for strength, because i was able to do it, and it was a joy to do so, too. one of the songs was ‘how great thou art’ as well.
    there was a tea afterwards and an open mic. Many people shared memories and stories. it was really heartwarming for the whole family and for everyone who knew him.
    those photos are great, too. nicely done. bless you Vicky, during this time. the official stuff is over, and now life goes on. but in some ways things are different, and i can imagine that there are some tough moments. do take care.

    • How wonderful that you played the piano for your dad’s celebration, but it must have taken a lot of courage from you.
      Celebration is exactly how I viewed my mums funeral too, especially as everyone was chatting about her with fond memories.
      We are presently sharing our time between Yorkshire and home while we sort her home and belongings 😞

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