Thursday, 14 October 2021

A Country Funeral

 

We have lost three members of the choir this last year.
And today the choir sang at soprano Deb’s funeral.
It was an emotional and difficult afternoon all told. 
Difficult because Deb’s partner is also a chorister 
And difficult because of the fact that Deb took her own life, 
A suicide by fire.

Caerwys church is a robust handsome little Church hidden away in the centre of a large village six miles South of Trelawnyd. The choir met around 1pm and we Sheltered from the cold against the wall next to the main door, hands in pockets.

In Wales covid rules still apply at funerals, so only 30 mourners were in Church.
A hundred or so people lined the Church paths outside and as the coffin was brought in under a grey sky growing heavier from the North,  we sang a selection of quiet, gentle songs,  rather shakily I thought.

The service was relayed through speakers to the people in the graveyard and we listened to an emotional, intensely personal  and totally woman led service which had a certain warmth all of its own.

The choir surprised the congregation by singing one of Deb’s favourite African songs as the coffin left the Church and it was lovely and rather heartbreaking to see her partner Claire, who usually sings tenor next to me,  singing it too with a sad smile on her face but with her head held high against the chill of the afternoon.






62 comments:

  1. Oh that is so difficult. Death by suicide has a shocking and heartbreaking aspect to it like no other. It is beautiful that you all sang for her.

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    Replies
    1. Yes. It gets shrouded in shame and secrecy , and isn’t acknowledged as a terrible symptom of Terri flu illness

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  2. And hopefully a modicum of comfort to you all to know that now she is at peace.

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    1. I wish the comfort goes to her partner and loving family

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  3. That was absolutely lovely. Losing someone you love and care about is heart breaking and lonely but the way people pull together to honor them can be so joyous. This was an excellent example.

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    1. I’ve seen exactly what you describe in the two funerals I’ve attended this fortnight

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  4. And a modicum of comfort for you all to know that now she is at peaace.

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  5. Oh, John, what a sad time for all. I know that as a small close-knit community, you'll all be there for each other and especially for Claire. Hugs - I feel you need one. xx

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    1. I managed to meet claire. and to physically show her my feelings and support

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  6. Barbara Anne4:28 pm

    How heartbreaking for one and all. Lovely song.

    Big consoling hugs

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  7. Appropriate but heartbreaking.

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  8. Oh dear, what a desperately sad occasion. The choir's presence, with her partner included, was a beautiful touch.

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    Replies
    1. “ doing something” like singing is a useful go to in funerals
      You feel useful

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  9. So sorry for your loss. I am sure the mourners were comforted by the choir, celebrating Deb with song.

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  10. Anonymous5:16 pm

    Oh John, why did you have to blurt out so much detail on how she died. To say she died would have been sufficient detail and would have had more respect for her partner. There is absolutely no need to sensationalise your post with graphic detail.
    I assume villagers including choir members read your blog, do have more respect please.

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    Replies
    1. I thought very carefully about this anon, and have not sensationalised anything

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    2. Plain facts are hard to take, but good to see the community and choir coming together.
      This is something to be said simply and not hidden. Thankyou John

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    3. We should not allow suicide to be stigmatised
      It can be a terrible reaction to a profound and dreadful illness

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    4. Thank you for stating simply what occurred - hiding this would make it seem shameful. Being open lets people know how this happens and step in to help those in pain and avoid this outcome.

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    5. I don't think you said one word "too much," John. Not one. As a matter of fact, I think you were somewhat reserved in your sharing; many would have said a lot more. -Kate

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  11. My heart goes out to all who loved her for the before and the after.

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  12. Thank you for sharing this. I hope Claire was much comforted by what was a special service and I hope she will continue to be part of your choir.

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  13. So sorry John to hear of this. But what a beautiful, heartbreaking but joyful song to sing for her.

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  14. So sorry for the loss of this woman, to her partner, to you and the rest of the choir and all her family and friends.

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  15. What a sad service, but I'm sure the choir was appreciated especially by her partner. I send my condolences.

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  16. Sad and bittersweet.

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  17. Oh - that is heartbreaking.

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  18. Replies
    1. 8 caring and warm responses , thank you all

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  19. My condolences and sympathy to Claire. I have experienced the same thing with my son in 2013.

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    Replies
    1. There are so many conflicting emotions for those left behind
      So sorry

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  20. With respect my heart goes out to Claire and family, lovely that the choir honoured Deb's passing by singing her favorite song, heartbreaking as it is.

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  21. Love to Claire...brave lady. Not surprised the choir found it difficult. You all did well to sing at all.

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    1. The choir did well and it was touching to see them hugging and supporting each other especially as when we were singing
      YOU RAISE ME UP the reaction on the “pallbearers” was so profound

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  22. How terribly sad. This sounds like a beautiful send off. Sending love and comfort to your community and her family.

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  23. How sad. Hopefully it will be a comfort for her partner to know how much people cared. x

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    Replies
    1. I agree
      People thought of her fondly , very fondly

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  24. Reading this made me so very sad; suicide leaves such questions. The choir gave Deb a wonderful send off. My condolences to her partner Claire, to the choristers to you and the community. Such a loss.

    Jo in Auckland

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    Replies
    1. Sometimes suicide is the reflection of an illness so severe it’s mountainous

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  25. Anonymous9:28 pm

    a very sad occaision but such love and joy in that song! I hope it brought some comfort to Claire and to her family to *hear* her life celebrated so beautifully. My condolences to all, and to you.
    Susan M

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    1. I hope so too…I heard that before I joined the choir, it sang at Deb’s sister’s funeral and sang the same song

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  26. By fire? She definitely wanted to make a statement.

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    1. A sign of how serious her illness was more like Dave

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  27. I hope Claire and her family and friends found some comfort in the songs...it was beautiful.
    I lost a loved one to suicide 14 years ago, so sad and no one wanted to acknowledge how much pain he was in. That mental pain and fatigue needs to be talked about not swept under a rug of shame.
    Joyce In Indiana

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  28. Suicide is heartbreaking, mostly because they close up into themselves so completely that the survivors are left with the guilt of feeling as if they missed warning signs, as if they could have saved them, as if it is their fault, and the 'as ifs' and the 'what ifs' and the 'if onlys' spin off into eternity. I am glad you all were there for Claire.

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  29. Sadly, living life with insurmountable pain brings desperate measures. RIP Deb. There is no more pain. Society needs to acknowledge mental health needs and provide support systems.

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  30. A lady ended her life in the road where I live-only a couple of hours earlier I think I may have seen her sitting outside my house in a car-I just thought she was waiting for someone-It was shocking but apparently she had her reason x

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  31. I'm so sorry she suffered so badly and I feel for those who are left.
    I think it's remarkable that Claire was able to sing at all but I'm sure it was a very special moment for her

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  32. That's a great song, wonderfully performed. But my god, suicide by fire? How tragic.

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  33. There are countless secrets in The Elder Scrolls Online waiting for players to explore. But before that, they'd better buy some ESO Gold in case they need it from time to time.

    Attached link: https://www.iggm.com/eso-gold

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  34. I don't know her obviously, but my condolences to Deb's partner. Like the song, just wish it didn't have to take a suicide for me to hear it.

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  35. Well done. A beautiful 'send-off'.

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  36. What a tragedy. The pain must have been immense, for her before she died, for Claire, and for you all. Your next service will be so much more enjoyable. Have a great time.

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  38. I've been thinking about the poor dead woman all day and how she died. So sad, so very very sad.

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  39. How heartbreaking, and also how moving your description of the funeral and listening to the choir.

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  40. This is so sad. Sorry John. And all who loved her. May she RIP.

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  41. Unbearably tragic. Peace to all who knew and loved her.

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