Friday, February 19, 2010


It's been a strange week, it's going to be a strange week.

In seven days time, I'll be in London.

Between now and then, I'll have part-presided over a cremation service - a new experience.

I'd like to adopt the swagger of, 'I'll try anything once, me', but it's not quite like that.

I think it was somewhere between being shocked and appalled at the original choice of minister - my brother knew what he was doing when he mentioned it to me, and my own upsetting of my mother and sister, that I may have said, 'I'll do it'.

Later, after I'd had time to think about what obvious alternatives there would have been to Minister Choice #1, I decided that some moderation, or negotiation, would be appropriate. But with this, sister spotted weakness, and the threat of back-tracking. Thus, I'm hit with a tirade that featured the term 'priorities'. That really pissed me off. For a moment, I simmer. Then I snap back - something about attitude and respect and being out of order, and about me being the only one to give voice to what everyone in the family was thinking and feeling, but that no-one had had the bottle to say out loud. Mother and brother suggest a calming, but by then, it's merely a question of whether I will actually foam at the mouth. A few seconds later, my tension is diminished, but the bite-back has seen my sister - and mother - depart the scene in different directions, both in tears. Not pretty, not a proud moment.

Days have since passed. I've written the speech that I'll be giving, and I've walked through it a couple of times. Though 'speech' is the wrong word. Homily? Tribute? I don't know.

The subject is, of course, the dead grandmother. But listen closely, and you'd hear that it's not really about the old bird. It is, as I guess these things often are, a not especially oblique tribute to the people who I'll be speaking to - mostly family, about how they sustained Elspeth.

My fellow presider, on Wednesday - He Who I'd Initially Recoiled At, well he's read the blurb that I've prepared. And he's provided feedback.

He seems like a decent sort - maybe my grandmother was wrong about him.


Queenie said...

Your fellow presider sounds like a gem. Really sorry it's all been so tense and difficult. I suspect, and hope, that Wednesday will help to make things better.

Meanwhile... said...

Best wishes for a happier conclusion.

Pat said...

You are very brave and I'm sure they will love you for it. Good luck!
Keep calm:)

Carnalis said...

I hope (i'm sure) the homily will be a comfort to all.

Best wishes.