A true sad story

This actually happened; I’ve just altered things a little to make it anonymous

It was pouring down with rain and over a hundred  people were waiting to go into the chapel for the funeral, crammed into the foyer, and pressed together under the shelter jutting out from the front of the building. Whoever designed this crematorium hadn’t really thought about rainy days and bad weather, because there was another funeral being conducted on the other side of the entrance doors, and the crowd waiting couldn’t help but be noisy. Old friends greeted each other, family members thanked people for coming, those who had travelled from far away remarked on their journey… The funeral directors tried to shush people, and voices would die to whispers, but as more people crammed in, the conversation started again.

Standing in front of the doors into the chapel, was a young woman undertaker, beautifully dressed in black with a deep purple waistcoat. She was carefully made-up in a professional and discrete way; from time to time she was joined by a colleague who went outside to try and quieten the people waiting in the rain. He too was immaculate dressed in a black tail coat, black trousers, black waist coat, white shirt and black tie.

At last the funeral in the chapel finished, and the mourners and families went out of the doors at the back. Still everyone had to wait as programmes were put out, flowers and floral tributes rearranged. A hearse drew up outside and the pall bearers readied themselves, and the waiting friends and family were quiet. Music began, a song from ‘Les Misérables’ and there was a murmur from the crowd as people joined in.

Another undertaker walked through the crowd with a couple of other people; he was dressed fittingly in black with a tail coat, but his face was very pale, there were marks beneath his eyes, and he looked as if he was clenching his bearded jaw to control his emotions. He went through into the chapel and moments later he was followed by the coffin, born on the shoulders of six sober looking men. The mourners followed into the chapel and squashed themselves into the pews. The bearded man was now standing in front of the coffin, hands clasped before him, staring sightlessly as everyone filed in and filled the seats. There were so many people that they filled the main aisle too, and stood all along the back and spread out into the foyer.

The music stopped and the funeral service began, a celebration of a great and popular man, very much-loved by many, many people. The bearded undertaker had moved from standing before the coffin, but now stood in the aisle with the crowd of mourners. As the service progressed, he wept from time to time and when there was a hymn, he sang heartily. The service, with tributes from family, friends and colleagues was moving and yet a true celebration. The final music played and the mourners began to file through the doors at the back of the chapel, some touching the coffin as they passed. The bearded man laid his hand on the golden wood and stood for a moment, saying farewell, then bowed and joined his colleagues the other funeral directors.


      1. Isabel Lunn

        Yes it was Damian Kavanagh from the Lyceum who also happens to be a funeral director.He was one of the cast who went on the Saga Cruises with Nigel when they performed plays. He’s on Nigel’s facebook page where there’s a picture of them at the top.


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