Fly me to the moon

Today we had Dad’s funeral. It is also my son Lloyd’s birthday. I’m really cranking out the big events this year on a tight schedule.

Lloyd was pretty philosophical about it. He said he’d never had all the family together for his birthday.

I won’t say it was a nice funeral or a good funeral but it was definitely about Dads life and not about his death. Lloyd spoke first and read from dad’s memoirs that he wrote a few years ago. It was about his early life in Guernsey and living in England through the war as a child and then his trip later to Australia. Then Emjays son spoke and he read a letter that was published in the Guernsey newspaper that Dad wrote a year after he’d been living in Australia about his first impressions of the place and how it was almost like a new frontier for him. Our brother spoke next about Dad and the man he was, the father he was, about his fierce independence and his love of new adventures and his constant desire to learn new things and experience all that he could. Then one of the girls who nursed him spoke and she said a poem and talked about the influence Dad had had on them, she was nearly my undoing I must admit. Then my nephew ended the service with a prayer that he wrote himself and then we played Fly me to the Moon as the grandsons carried him out. My mother was very happy the boys were able to carry him out on their shoulders as pall bearing seems to be a dying tradition. At first we were told they might not be able to as these days people are usually just wheeled out on a trolley due to OH & S rules but the boys could walk beside it. But in the end it wasn’t a problem, just a matter of getting the tallest ones in the right spot and Dad would have liked it very much.

So onto sandwiches, cake and coffee with the people who came. I think the hardest part of the whole thing was deciding how many sandwiches to get. Funerals really need to become an RSVP event because it’s so difficult to know how many people will turn up. Mum didn’t care about having too much food but she definitely didn’t want to have not enough. But it was a good crowd with all the family and most of Mum and dads closest friends. We weren’t sure how many of his friends would come as they are all around 80 years old and most had to travel a very long way but they came.

And now I’m having a glass of wine, writing this and then getting ready to go out for dinner to celebrate Lloyd’s birthday. Because birthdays are important and need to be celebrated.

My father had a huge influence on all the family, be they children or grandchildren or daughters in law and I think that a very large part of his desire to travel and experience new things and to just damn well take life by the horns and give it a good shake up has passed on to Lloyd who is quite the adventurer himself.

So happy birthday to Lloyd, I hope your life is as full of adventure and love as your grandfathers was.

Fly to the moon every chance you get.



15 thoughts on “Fly me to the moon

  1. Happy birthday to Lloyd! What a great kid, to be able to speak at his grandfather’s funeral, act as a pallbearer, and then go out to celebrate his birthday with equanimity. Your dad must be bursting with pride at this. Good apples never fall far from the tree.

    I had to chuckle at your suggestion that funerals should be RSVP so you can plan how many sandwiches should be made for the reception. That unfortunately doesn’t happen: though when my husband died, we had two receptions, one at our church for the oldies with coffee and sandwiches, and one for his colleagues and friends at our house, which was more like a gigantic cocktail party. We had so much food in our kitchen I made people take some of it home, and so much liquor I worried people would leave the house inebriated. People brought things like a whole ham and casseroles and salads, and I bought a keg of beer. I think everyone had a great time, and my husband would have been pleased, since he enjoyed a good party. Old people however are good about turning out for a funeral. It’s sad, but for my parents, it’s the highlight of their week if they can attend one with a good reception.

    • I think Dad would have been pleased with the whole show today.

      Lol, your parents are funeral crashers. I was pleased to see all Mum and dad’s old friends there. When they were newlyweds with young families they were a pretty tight group. We always seemed to be at a party at one or an-others place or visiting for holidays. I have a lot of fond memories of them and it was good to see them all turn up. And they haven’t changed at all.

  2. Sorry, something is not right with my computer today … Would you mind to delate the previous com ?
    Sorry, something did not go right with my computer. Would you mind to delate my two previous com’ ?
    Oh, how lovely these kitten kissing your Lloyd, are ! …Hyppy birthday for him despite exactly all which arrived … His grandfather …Betty …
    Leading his grandfather to the cimetery,carrying him on his shoulders is a very sad but great moment for a young man … My brother did it for our grandfather … But the sadest had been when my young nephews carried their Mum, my sister …
    Our lives pass through such difficult moments … But joy is our friend : it’s the gift we received from those who leaved us …

    • Thanks Apolline – Lloyd said that it was a special moment carrying his grandfather like he did today, especially how he was doing it with his cousins, they are beautiful respectful boys. It’s been a big week we have had here but I don’t feel sad today at all, I feel like you say, that joy is our friend and my fathers legacy will live on forever in our hearts and memories.

        • I think Dad would have considered being wheeled out on a trolley a most undignified way to end things. It was never going to be a safety issue for the boys, Emjays eldest could probably have picked the casket up and carried it out on his own.

  3. Awwww this has me choked up. It sounds like a nice and very personal ceremony. Family is one thing but it’s a real testament to how respected and loved someone is when their friends or colleagues (or former colleagues) neighbors, etc. show up. The fact that he made such an impression on the nurses really says something special, so I can understand why that was nearly your undoing. It was nice to see the turnout at my dad’s funeral, of course he was only 60 and it was sudden but still, he was well-respected by everyone. But we didn’t have anything personal, just a straight up church thing where there were a couple readings by family members who were able to get through it (i.e., none of us 4 remaining).
    And Lloyd is carrying on the adventurer tradition, for sure. What interesting lives you all lead. Happy birthday to Lloyd!

    • 60 seems very young these days. I think funerals of younger people are much sadder and Dad was 80 so I didn’t have that feeling that he’d been taken too young or anything. The little girl from the nursing home was so sweet and she was sad, I felt sorry for her but it was very nice of her to come. He made an impact on everyone he met. The other night Emjay and I were looking through cd’s and she said — who’s this? And I said – oh thats a girl he met by the river one day and she was a violinist and she sent him the cd she made. He was interested in people and their stories. I think church funerals can be very sombre, at least the ones I’ve been to have been. Most of the churches around here are big old dark cold places and it starts feeling like serious business as soon as you walk in the door!

  4. Jane, it all sounds lovely. I’m sure Max approves from the great beyond. What a wonderful legacy he’s left behind for everyone. He was a very special person and I’m sure that’s why the grandkids all turned out so well.

    Happy birthday to Lloyd, as well and hugs to you all.

    • It’s funny how you call him Max. He was christened Max but was always known as Mike. The only time he was called Max was when he went into hospitals because it was on all the oficcial paperwork. When the nurses would call him Max it always seemed strange however he spent so much time in Hospitals and homes this past year that we became used to Max. In the end he seemed as much of a Max as a Mike to me.

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