The Funeral

It was the day to say our goodbyes 4 years ago today. Martin’s funeral, the memory is sketchy, fragmented and incomplete. I can remember snippets of the day. I can’t tell you how I felt when I woke that morning, because I cannot remember. I know that I needed medication to help me sleep in those days and I know that I needed more medication to help ease the pain on particularly bad days. I anticipated the funeral being a particularly bad day and had taken medication to help get me through it. Perhaps that is why my memory is blurry. Or maybe it is because I found the whole ordeal so traumatic that I have mentally erased the memory of the day. I honestly don’t know. I just know that I can only remember small parts of the day.

We travelled in the funeral car, we drove past our old house, the house that held a whole world of different memories. The house that was now just a house, no longer a home. I felt sick the whole time.

Together with Martin’s eldest girls we had chosen some music to play at his funeral. I can remember standing there watching Martin’s coffin being lifted from the hearse, my father struggling with the weight, significant friends from Martin’s past, helping, carrying him into the huge church. I followed behind. Wearing a little black dress, self conscious and frightened. Aware that people were watching me. Scared that I was being judged. Worried that people would think that I didn’t belong there, behind the coffin, that I was no longer Martin’s partner. The music started playing. I took a deep breath, as deep as I could, and repeatedly told myself to keep walking. One foot in front of the other, slowly, carefully. I could do it. Just keep walking. I saw people from our place of work. I couldn’t look again. At anyone. I looked straight ahead, walking slowly through a blurry sea of people.

Right next to me, right by my side, letting me squeeze her hand was my beautiful five year old Isla. My best friend, my shining star, my reason to keep it together. It hurt, the lump in my throat was a real physical pain. The struggle was real, the struggle to stop myself from crying. Scared of making a scene, scared of looking like a fool. Always so scared. Isla wasn’t upset, she was intrigued, curious, a little overwhelmed maybe, but not upset. She just sat clutching her teddy bear that her daddy had chosen and bought for her the day that she was born. Isla and Rolo bear sat, quietly, right by my side, occasionally looking around at the huge gathering of people in that huge church. I remember looking at his coffin, not really believing that inside of that coffin was the body of my children’s father. I think I stared at that coffin for the majority of the funeral. At some point I had to stand up and walk to the front. I don’t know how I managed it, because my legs were like jelly. Scared again, scared of standing up displaying myself in front of a church full of people who might think that I didn’t deserve to stand up at Martin’s funeral. I helped light a candle with Isla and I lit a candle myself for Martha. I shook and I stared at his coffin. I know his eldest daughter stood up and spoke, brave beyond words. I know the vicar read a piece written by my other step daughter. I know his mum stood up, painfully, and talked, unrehearsed. I was proud of them all as I just sat and stared at a coffin I couldn’t believe held any body let alone his body. 

And that was his funeral service. The service I can barely remember. I don’t remember getting to the cemetery. Or how I got there. I remember how long it seemed to take to lower the coffin into the ground. I remember feeling that I  needed my friends and family. I remember the sadness I felt at witnessing so many people there, wondering if he had realised just how many people had cared. How many people he could have turned to. I know that I desperately wanted the day to be over. That I wanted to return home, to our new home as quickly as possible, to be with both of my babies. For it all to be over.

That is all I remember. My uncle died a week after Martin had died and his funeral was a week after Martin’s. Nobody expected me to go. There’s a big part of me that wishes that I hadn’t. I feel so ashamed when I think back to uncle David’s funeral. Guilty of how that day made me feel. I sat at my Uncle’s funeral consumed with the pain of Martin’s death. Martin was all I could think of, not my lovely Uncle who I had loved so much. Uncle David’s funeral became another funeral of Martin’s and that makes me feel incredibly sad and guilty. Funerals I have been to since inevitably make me think back to that day, that blurry funeral of Martin’s but I manage to stop myself being consumed by it, I couldn’t stop that at Uncle David’s and I will always wish that I had chosen not to go. My uncle deserved more from me than that.

Isla doesn’t remember much of the funeral other than that other people cried and she did not. She was too young to be there but old enough to not be denied the chance.

We don’t visit his grave. I know for a fact that he would not want us to, he wouldn’t want us to visit out of duty. I know this because it is something I have always felt strongly about regarding myself and I know that he agreed. We will visit, any time the children ask to visit. But it will never be anything that I suggest that we do. 

Martin’s funeral was 4 years ago today, the most surreal day, the most blurry day of my past. 400 + people paid their respects, said their goodbyes and witnessed me play a part in a day that I can barely remember. I always hoped that we did him proud. I always hoped beyond hope, that he knew he had 400 + people he could have turned to, but that he just chose not to.


Popular Posts