In the latest Private Eye under Eye Classifieds, someone has advertised their services as a professional mourner. I had to read it twice! I think I know what a professional mourner does even though I have not met one before but is there a need for such a person?
I have often heard from the Mhinisteir as to how some bereaved families prefer not to turn up at the funeral service in Church or at the crematorium. The reasons given are usually family feud or simply too busy to turn up!
To hire a professional mourner appears to be just taking it a step too far but maybe there is a perfectly simple reason as to why there is a need to hire one!
In the same Private Eye, under Dumb Britain, I spotted the following:-
Tipping Point, ITV
Ben Shephard: Ciabatta bread originated in which European country?
“So is the body in the morgue?” I quizzed the Mhinisteir. I added that I wished to attend the funeral service. The Mhinisteir looking confused asked me whose funeral I was referring to. “P’s of course.” I said. “The funeral is over.” he said. I was too shocked to reply.
According to the Mhinisteir, the funeral was over a good few weeks ago. I was of course wondering why he hadn’t told me about it. He said he too didn’t know about it as it was a direct cremation. As I am not familiar with the term “direct cremation”, I thought it was the name of the funeral directors!
He went on to explain that P had opted for direct cremation which means that nobody would have been present at the crematorium and that there was no service. I was so shocked that I struggled to get the right words out of my mouth.
The Mhinisteir went on to explain that people are increasingly opting for direct cremations. One reason is the cost but the more popular reason is that they don’t want sad farewells!
I am beginning to wonder if in this modern world, we are trying to remove the “sting of death”. Funerals help us in the grieving process. If we don’t grief properly, then it might come back to bite us!
The Mhinisteir works mostly from home but he is also out and about conducting services, meetings, house visits among many other things. However unless he is away from his parishes, he always has lunch with me. In the Vicarage, meal times are sacred! We are firmly of the view that what you put in your body is very important and that having proper meals helps one to be effective and productive. Oh by the way, I am solely in charge of these said meals!
We tend to exchange news during meal times as it is usually the only times during the day that I see the Mhinisteir; he is usually holed up in his study busy working or in zoom meetings so I avoid his study or should I say avoid him!
A few weeks ago during lunch, he told me that his morning was totally wasted. When I enquired further, I realised that a stone mason had sneakily put in a headstone in one of the churchyards without permission! In the Church of England, there is a proper procedure in place for stonemasons to adhere to before they erect a headstone on behalf of the deceased family. The first step is for the stonemason to put in an application with all the necessary information like the type of stone, the colour of the stone, the inscription etc. Application will be rejected if the stone is not the approved colour or type etc; the inscription is equally important. You may think that all this a bit over the top but it is not so because as it is the Church yard, it must meet with the religious requirements.
Unfortunately, the stonemason had not done any of this and started telling porkies. He was proving too powerful for both the church administrator and the church warden and so the Mhinisteir had to get involved together with the Diocesan solicitors! I am sure it was the last resort as involving the diocesan solicitors meant more work for the Mhinisteir!
Sadly, it is not just the stonemasons who are slippery, funeral directors are just as bad. They seem to prey on bereaved families when these families are at their lowest.
In the last 12 months, the Mhinisteir has had at least 3 requests for exhumation. I will not insult your intelligence by explaining what an exhumation is. I was intrigued by these requests. I used to think that you only exhume a body in extreme circumstances like when a crime has been committed.
The Mhinisteir explained that requests such as these are rarely approved. As the Church yard is a sacred place, there should be very little disturbance. This is why we say rest in peace. Furthermore, when a person is buried, It should be their final resting place.
By the way, I have since learnt that at least one of the person requesting an exhumation is the wife of the deceased. The reason given was that the husband’s grave was vandalised but the real reason is because she is moving away!
I have been off colour since last Thursday. The doctor prescribed me with some antibiotics and since then I am feeling all funny. I am more tired than I usually am and so have struggled to keep up with my usual activities.
We finally got our cleaner back on Thursday which is bliss. We also had to go back to the Optician to get both our spectacles adjusted. Mine was pinching me so I was walking around with cotton wool around my ear while the Mhinisteir had the opposite problem in that his wasn’t fitting very well.
I spent Friday moping around feeling sorry for myself.
On Saturday, I got some news that made me really really angry. I am not sure than I have calmed down yet. I am just so disappointed thats all.
Sunday was Mothering Sunday. They were giving out wee gifts to all mothers in Church. I got one too even though I am not a mother but I did feel a bit awkward receiving it as I felt like an imposter.
On Monday morning, the Mhinisteir shouted ” We have a problem in the kitchen”. “What kind of problem???” I asked. He replied that there was a little bird in the kitchen. A bird?????/ How on earth did it get there? Anyway, the Mhinisteir managed to sent it out.
The Mhinisteir continues to be very busy with funerals. He does a minimum of 3 funerals a weeks. I gather that the funeral directors are struggling with the rise in the number of death due to Covid19 and so there is a backlog.
The Vicarage egg supply comes directly from a farm as we consume large amounts of egg. I was expecting mine on Wednesday and when it arrived, I almost had a mini cardiac!!!!!!!! It is clearly stated on the box that they are eggs and so the box should always be kept upright. The courier driver in his wisdom decided that the box should be at the door on its side instead of being upright. I had to quickly dash to the door and make sure that non of the eggs were broken. Miraculously none were broken.
It is raining again today. The weather generally doesn’t bother me but I am fedup of the grey skies and rain.
Oh another thing….. We seem to have a few ladybirds around the house which has puzzled me. I have never seen them before. Hopefully it is not an infestation.
The first thing that caught my eye when I woke up this morning was that of the grave digger. Together with his two assistants, he was busy digging the grave in preparation for the funeral of a villager that was due to take place later in the day. I often wonder what goes through their minds as they do their job. Do they think about death at all?
As for me, I am glad to have woken up to that view because it immediately caused me to be thankful. Thankful to be alive!
As I paid my respects through the Vicarage window, I saw for the first time ever, two female pallbearers!!!! They looked petite but must be very strong. Anyway, due to strict Covid rules, There were only a handful of mourners.
Another wet day here so the Mhinisteir came back with muddy feet and he was soaked down to his socks!!!! His cassock alb would have looked very good in a detergent advertisement (the before version)!!!
He also came back with news that Covid19 getting closer and closer to home. Several people in at least 2 of our parishes have tested positive! I most sincerely wish that the penny will finally drop for people because I cannot see anyone treating this deadly pandemic seriously.
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. – Psalm 8:1
On Saturday just before 3pm, we heard that the Prime Minister was going to have a press conference at 5pm. Turned on the radio but no press conference. There was no news as to what time the actual press conference was going to be. I gave up and went to have an early dinner. In the Radio news at 7pm, it was reported that the Prime Minister has announced a second National Lockdown to commence on Thursday. Rumour is that one of the reasons for the confusion with the press conference timing was because of the BBC and Strictly come dancing.
There will be no Church services on Sundays but funeral services are permitted inside the Church. On top of that Foodbanks, AA meetings etc will be able to take place inside the Church. The people who came up with these rules obviously don’t know the primary function of the Church. Thankfully the head of the Roman Catholic church voiced his objections. Not sure why it took ABC so long to object!
Why is there such a demand for loo rolls? As usual, I got my Tesco delivery shortly after I started typing this. No loo rolls in sight. Don’t need them (yet!).
Rumour is that the lockdown will continue into the New Year. I wish people will understand how damaging this Virus can be.
For me, life before lockdown is not very different to life in lockdown. However, I will miss going to Church, my hairdresser and the cleaner.
I listen to the Daily Service on Radio 4 long wave but am not always very pleased with the choice of presenters. I am surprised by the high number of non clergy who present it.
I am High Church but not Anglo Catholic: I like the service to be traditional and preferably by a member of the clergy. I am happy with a fair balance of traditional and non traditional services but often times, they are more non traditional than traditional.
The theme yesterday was the Criminal Justice System. During prayer, the clergy person addressed prisoners as God’s children! I am no theologian but I was taken aback by that particular description. I know that God is our Creator and We on earth are his Creation. As far as I know, we call God our Father when we enter into a relationship with Him.
Anyway, this subject was a thorn in my flesh as I had just finished reading about the widow of the policeman who was so brutally killed last year. I was very sad to know that they had only been married for a month and that the widow was not even allowed to see his body for one last time as his body was so mangled. How cruel!
Heresy of Universalism means there is no hell. I think one is clever enough to know what I am trying to say. There is forgiveness but only if we repent.
By the way, I got this big term from the Mhinisteir so please don’t be too impressed with my blog title!!!! As I say, I am no theologian!!!
We had just sat down for dinner when the phone rang. The Mhinisteir looked at me and at the phone. I knew he was desperate to answer and so I reluctantly gave him the go ahead to answer. Needless to say, the telephone conversation lasted for ages. By that time, I had finished my own dinner while the Mhinisteir’s had gone cold!!!! I was fuming! Only because it happens whenever we sit down to eat!!!!!
It was the son of a deceased who had rang to thank the Mhinisteir for conducting his Father’s funeral a couple of days back. It was a very nice gesture for very few people actually phone or write to record their thanks but I would have preferred if he had rang after dinner.
I have been writing yet another Sympathy card for the widow of the Mhinisteir’s colleague who was in the same diocese. He was a licensed lay minister. He was suddenly taken ill and died in hospital the next day. This happened a few weeks ago. Due to the current situation, we will not be able to attend his funeral.
I do not enjoy writing sympathy cards. It just makes me sad.