Yesterday I went to a funeral near Bury St Edmunds to bury my Godmother, Molly Scotcher, who died last week. I’m not very good at funerals. No matter how much I tell myself I’m going to maintain a stiff upper lip, my eyes somehow turn into water fountains. It didn’t help today when I saw my Father and my Uncle acting as pall-bearers. They were carrying the coffin containing their sister. My mother (from whom I have inherited my moist eyes) was in bits. It was Molly who introduced her to my father fifty years ago. Indeed, had Molly and my mother not struck up a conversation on a train from Clare in Suffolk to Bartlow in Cambridgeshire, my parents would never have met and you wouldn’t be reading this blog.
Molly was a woman of her generation. She was born in 1931 and was educated in Ashdon, near Saffron Walden, at the same school I was to attend thirty years later. She worked as a railway clerk before marrying her husband Percy. She immediately gave up work and had twins, my cousins Susan and Heather. Percy died 17 years ago today and since then she has devoted herself to her grandchildren and caring for elderly people. She really was a woman who put others before herself. Six months ago Molly was diagnosed with three aneurisms, and it was from one of those she died. Susan, her daughter discovered her body. I can think of nothing worse than discovering a dead parent. My sister Sheena rang to tell me. Sheena doesn’t ring me that often and when she does, I often fear the worst.
Why am I telling you all this? No idea really. I suppose it was an odd day and I just wanted to get it off my chest. But I was reminded of an exchange I had with one of the journalism students in Cardiff yesterday who made a remark about all politicians being on the make and someone inhumane. I countered that people have a similar view of journalists and made the point that politicians and journalists all have feelings, they all laugh, they cry, they shop in the same places as other people, watch the same TV programmes, suffer from the same illnesses. And everyone gets sad at funerals.
Funerals often provoke odd emotions in me and this one has been no different. One thing it has done is to make me question why I only really see my extended family at funerals. And it’s made me determine to get my sister to ring me when she has good news – or even no news – so at least I don’t always fear the worst when I see her name come up on my phone screen. Yesterday, possibly for the first time, I felt my age.
Apologies for the self indulgence of this post. Normal service to be resumed!