Monday, 17 October 2016

A funeral to prepare for

Just after a late breakfast, I received a phone call from an Englishman working as a funeral director to ask if I'd take a service in the village Church at Antas, about half an hour's drive inland from the coast. He gave me the widow's contact details, and those of the Parish Priest, who said he'd like me to get in touch. I then phone made a midday meeting arrangement to prepare for the service in a cafe on a trading estate close to the A7 autovia exit nearest to Mojacar, which is actually within the boundaries of Antas, although separated from it by the road.

I arrived just at the same time the widow and her widowed friend, and noticed how members of the staff in the cafe greeted her with of sympathy, clearly she and her husband were regular customers here. We talked for a long while and I gleaned enough information to write a eulogy, as family and friends didn't wish to. The deceased was an aero engineer, what had worked on building Concorde at Filton in Bristol, something recalled understandably with great pride. 

A selection of popular music had been chosen to play during the service. No hymns, and very few prayers I was admonished, as the widow claimed not to be a believer, although her husband had still possessed respect for the faith of his boyhood, if not actual practice. As the shock of his death, unexpected due to complications after an operation was still raw, I felt it wiser not to argue, but later, it meant that I'd need to give careful attention to liturgical content with this in mind, as to crafting the eulogy. The issue is not leaving God out as much as bringing God's presence into focus in a respectful way - inviting those who can to pray, rather than just saying prayers on everyone's behalf. Thankfully there's plenty of precedent for that in Christian tradition, always having to cater for diversity in the participants at an occasional office of the Church..

On the way back to the apartment I did my main weekly shopping trip to Lidl's in Garrucha, but after lunch I realised that I'd forgotten milk and margarine yet again, so walked into Mojacar to buy some, and get much needed exercise. In the evening I called Fr Enrique, the Parish Priest of Antas, with my well rehearsed speech in Spanish, but got no reply. Half an hour later, however, he rang back, and after a successful start in Spanish, he switched to English, keen to practice his foreign language as I was. I'm looking forward to meeting up on Wednesday for a chat before the service.

I went down to the beach again in search of pictures of the moon rising out of the sea, but there was thin cloud down to the horizon, and little to be seen, let alone photographed. Ah well, another night maybe.

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