Monday, January 21, 2013

A French Village Funeral

I went to my first French funeral today.
It was for a friend and neighbour, and as we were snowed in, I had to make my way on foot.
It gave me time to think about her. She was a fun person, and although she had many health problems, she always had a big smile, greeted me with "Ma cherie" and a massive hug when we met.
The funeral wasn't a big affair, our church is tiny, but there was hardly a spare seat. She had lived in the village for over sixty years and was very well known.
I sat at the back of the church, not realising that I should have waited outside & followed all the other mourners in. Then, towards the end of the service, a man came and asked me to go to the front of the church. I had no clue as to why, but when I reached the coffin, a lady handed me a silver tube with holes in it. I looked at her, she looked at me, as did the whole of the congregation.
What on earth was I to do?
The lady then told me to dip the object in some holy water and shake it over the coffin & the flowers.
I duly did it, and then, all of the other mourners stood in a line behind me, awaiting their turn to say goodbye.
Had I realised, I may have made some small gesture, a nod or touch of the coffin, but the moment passed and I quickly returned to my seat at the back of the church.
I felt a little embarrassed, and for a moment, I wished I had said that goodbye at her side.
Then I thought about her, how she would have chided at me for being so foolish. She would have put those loving arms around me, planted kisses on both sides of my face ...and shaken with laughter.
How I will miss her.


  1. Sweet tribute to your neighbor and friend. So very sorry for your loss.


  2. Thank you Robin for your kind response.
    The way I look at it, is that we should remember people for the lovely memories that they have given us. I hope I can leave some happy memories for others.
    I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  3. Thank you for sharing this moving post.

  4. Thank you Judy for taking the time to comment.
    The family gave me a bouquet of cream roses & mimosa yesterday as a thank you for being a friend to their mother. A really touching gesture.
    It was no hardship for me, she was an easy person to befriend.