We went to the funeral yesterday of a very dear friend. It was a sad day. It was a Humanist Funeral, I have never attended one before and at first found it strange that there were no hymns to sing, no vicar or priest to offer prayers. But rather a service dedicated to my friend, a tribute to his life and achievements and to what he had meant to his family, friends and colleagues.
Gradually, as the celebrant read out the memories, told to her by his family, in a warm and sincere way, I came to accept that this service was just what he would have wanted. He was not a religious person, yet the service did not give any offence to those in the congregation who were; merely just telling the story of his life and the things he loved and held dear and helping us all to understand that though he was no longer living with us, our memories of him will keep him “alive” for ever.
There was a mixed reaction afterwards, some people didn’t like it at all, some, like me were at first a bit unsure but then came to realise that it was perfect for our friend. It suited his personality, the quiet unassuming way he always had in life had been continued in celebrating him in death.
It was something rather special.