My Dad died, at the age of 79, in Tenerife doing what he loved… falling asleep in the sun while on holiday.
I might write another post around what Dad meant to me, but I’m going to limit this to the ceremony itself.
The cremation was held on 13th December. Dad was a “believer” but low key about it (Mum doesn’t believe) so we had the local priest perform the ceremony. All in all, as these things go, it was OK.
The procession to the crematorium consisted of just the hearse and a car containing family (Mum, me, Jason, Stuart, Tori). The funeral director walked in front of the car while on our local back streets, and tears came to my eyes at the amount of deference he showed to the body whenever he passed it (paused, took off his hat, bowed his head). It’s probably the most repsect Dad has ever been shown! The drive was pretty slow and I remember laughing to myself; Dad would have been annoyed if he’d been stuck behind the procession with no way to overtake!
The ceremony itself was almost as we planned; we’d given the priest a good outline and set of jokes. For example, Mum had written that Dad always wanted to do stuff his way, and that way was normally the right way. I added a joke; “well, except for when he electrocuted himself changing a light bulb. Or when he fell off a ladder cutting a tree branch. Or when he broke the computer. Or…” The priest told it well, and a number of people mentioned that he’d known Dad well. Oh nononono, we just gave him a good story outline :-)
The music choices were:
Un bel di vendro - Madame Butterfly
Dad loved this song
My Way - Frank Sinatra
I think this shows up in many a funeral, but it also fit in with the joke
Fly Me To The Moon - Frank Sinatra
This played to another joke; Mum can’t stand Sinatra but she had two songs by him because she loved Dad so much. This song (or a variation from someone else) was the first song they danced to when they first met, so it was fitting that it also be their last song.
One further poem was read out during the service:
To the living, I am gone
To the sorrowful, I will never return
To the angry, I was cheated
But to the happy, I am at peace
And to the faithful, I have never left
I cannot speak, but I can listen
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard
So as you stand upon the shore
Gazing at the beautiful sea, remember me
As you look in awe at a mighty forest
And in its grand majesty, remember me
Remember me in your hearts,
In your thoughts, and the memories of the
Times we loved, the times we cried,
the battle we fought and the times we laughed
For if you always think of me,
I will never have gone.
Goodbye, Dad. Thank you for loving me, for believing in me, for everything you did for me.