Yesterday evening during the bereavement visit, the family agreed to let me lead the unaccompanied singing of 'Abide with me' during Mother's funeral service, rather than have a recording of the hymn played to listen to. It was going to be an awful lot of logistic fuss to obtain and distribute hymn books just for this, so I printed off the text, three to an A4 sheet, enough for three dozen people or more, if they shared. I got all the necessary preparations done before bed, except for cutting the sheets. In fact, I only remembered just before it was time to go, and the job took me longer than anticipated. Even so, I arrived at Arboleas Thanatorium at one o'clock, exactly an hour before, and had all the time I could need to prepare before the mourners started arriving.
There were 12-15 family members present, including a babe in arms. I was amazed at the number of local friends and neighbours who turned out. The chapel was full, standing room only, and there were several people outside in the entrance hall as well. There were roughly three people for each hymn sheet, quite unexpected. Altogether, there were over a hundred people present. The couple are clearly well known and well loved by the expatriate community. 'Abide with me' went fine, and the recorded version was played at the end of the service while people were leaving. I cued it in a little earlier than I needed to, and as a result I had to pray the blessing over the music, which fortunately was at a low volume, and it worked quite well, though it's not something I'd normally think of doing..
Afterwards, Father and eldest son accompanied the hearse to the crematorium, while the rest of the congregation adjourned to the bar/restaurant of the nearby sports centre, colloquially known as the Pool Bar, because of its piscina. When I first heard it described thus I started looking out for some establishment on a street with pool tables, but thankfully, one of the people to whom I gave a lift had been there, and explained. Almost all of the congregation went there, socialized and offered their condolences to the family. I stayed until father and son returned, paid my respects and took my leave of them. Many of those remaining, I imagine, would be there until supper time. The good thing which expat retired communities have, is plenty of time for each other, and this was one of those days when time together would be healing.