Usually on work days, I get up between 6:00 and 6:30 in the morning. Today, I was up before 5:00, so that I was ready at my computer at 5:00 - not for work. Instead, for the first time in my life, I attended a funeral service via live stream.
Last Thursday, at 10:30 pm when I was just about to turn my reading lamp off and go to sleep, my sister texted me, asking whether I had seen B's email. I had not, and immediately checked the email on my phone.
It was sad news: B's husband W had died of cancer. He was 73 years old, and until 2019, he and B were still making plans to visit us again - then in 2020, the pandemic put an end to all such ideas, as did W's illness.
B and W are our Australian friends; we have known them since 1971, when I was three years old. In spite of the long distance and sometimes infrequent communication, we never lost touch completely, and whenever we did meet or exchange emails, it was as if we'd just seen each other last week.
My Mum wrote a beautiful guest post about them in 2012; you can read it here. Now W is gone for ever, and we all attended his funeral service this morning - it was 1:00 pm in Australia, and a very hot day by the looks of it.
The service was very moving, with the children (all grown-up of course) speaking about their beloved Dad, and even mentioning each of the four of us by name when it came to talking about the friendships W had formed throughout his life.
My sister and I spent a weekend with them in France, also in 2012; those posts can also be found on my blog here and here.
The last time we saw W and B was when they were here as the biggest surprise ever, for my Mum's 70th birthday. You can read about that here.
Learning of W's death made me very sad, and this morning during the funeral service was not the only time I cried. At the same time, I feel grateful for having had W as a friend in my family's life, and for still being friends with his wife and children. In spite of being so far away, we mean a lot to each other, and it is times like this when I appreciate the opportunities we have nowadays with communication technology. I was able to "be there" even if I could not attend in person.
My thoughts are with B, her children and their families. You'd be hard pressed to find nicer, kinder people, and I am glad B is surrounded by them now and not all on her own.
In some ways these Zoom funerals are better - you may not have been able to go under normal circumstances and to give the family, especially his widow, your support at this time is good.ReplyDelete
I doubt we would have been able to make the trip under normal circumstances, and so we were glad to have the chance to attend from afar.Delete
At this time more than any other the passing of your friend is a blow.ReplyDelete
The Australian connection caught my attention.
For the last week or so I have been watching documentaries (YouTube) on The Seekers.
Your depth of feeling for W and B dissolved all distance. Even to the Antipodes.
I have only been able to glance at your earlier posts, but I shall return to them.
Stuttgart to Lyons is only an hour's flight?
Those are the two places I would like to be, now that spring is here.
Saint Amour Bellevue is a name out of Colette, or Anatole France in a light mood.
A glass or three of Beaujolais every time: A chef told me that red wine rather than white takes away some of the oiliness of salmon, and it is true.
The grandfather clock must have chimed the hours when Anatole France was un garcon.
The bedrooms in this French are quaint as well as commodious.
I don't know what it means, but I often dream I am in strange lovely houses.
Other Voices, Other Rooms.
I meant to write:Delete
The bedrooms in this French HOUSE are quaint as well as commodious.
Yes, Stuttgart to Lyon is no further than to Hamburg or Berlin. Stuttgart to Zurich is a mere 25-minute hop, the plane does not even go up to regular travelling altitude.Delete
W had a grandfather clock that he loved very much. At the start of the service, the chime of his clock was played. It was a fitting and touching moment.
I am so sorry to hear this Meike, you have my sympathies for the loss of your friend. He sounds like a wonderful person and a loyal friend. I'm glad his wife has their children with her during this time. Once this pandemic is over, maybe you and her can get together again sometime. I have never been to a live stream funeral but the services sound very nice and full of love. You have written a wonderful remembrance of your friend.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Bonnie. In a way, maybe this blog would not exist without W and B - after all, they taught me my first English words when I was three years old and my lifelong love of languages began.Delete
I am sorry for your loss. It sounds like you and your family have many happy memories of W to comfort you. How nice you could participate via Zoom. I am sure that meant a great deal to B.ReplyDelete
The congregation at the church were not aware of those watching via streaming, but we let B know that we were there.Delete
The funny thing is that on that Thursday morning last week I was looking at photos from a daytrip we had been on with W and B, and of the weekend in France. I had no idea that I would learn of W‘s death that same night.
Life goes on, as my mum would have said, but it is good to be able to attend a funeral from such a long distance.ReplyDelete
Life goes on indeed, and that was made so obvious by W‘s children and grandchildren all being there.Delete
In the midst of great sorrow, the fact that you could attend the funeral virtually was a gift. Still, a sad loss.ReplyDelete
You are right on both accounts, Mary. When someone dies you have known almost all your life it is inndeed a part of your own life ending once and for all, too.Delete
Sorry for the loss of your friend and glad you were able to "be" in attendance at his funeral. Amazing electronics!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Jill. Yes, it was good that we were able to attend.Delete
I send you my condolences on the loss of your friend, Meike. I'm glad you were able to attend his funeral, even if it was on Zoom. Family and friends need each other in a time of loss.ReplyDelete
Take care. xx
Thank you, dear Jennifer. My sister and I knew W from when we were 3 and 4 years old, so for me it also feels like another part of my childhood is now irrevocably gone, similar to when our grandparents died.Delete
By the way, your new profile picture is beautiful!Delete
I just read this- from Australia though much further south- last thing Sunday night, knowing that tomorrow morning I’ll be watching the live streamed funeral of my cousin in Queensland.ReplyDelete
It is a good development in adapting to COVID that helps those whose funds or frailty might prevent them getting to funerals even when COVID restrictions ease
I am sorry you lost your cousin, Jayview.Delete
Yes, it is one of the few positive things that have come out of the pandemic thatlive streaming and meeting is now much more widespread and can be used by almost anyone, making many trips by car or plane unnecessary.
Oh, I am so very sorry about your friend. This was a beautifully written post. Thinking of you.ReplyDelete
Tnak you, Nan. I keep looking at the clock, thinking what time it is right now where B is and what she might be doing.Delete
I'm so very sorry to hear of the death of your friend. We've all seen such grief and loss in the past year but it is all the harder when it is someone about whom you care.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Jeanie. In this case, it had nothing to do with Covid, but it was still rather unexpected for us over here; we knew W was ill but not quite how seriously.Delete
I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. I am just now seeing this. Just know I am thinking of you at this sad time. It must have brought it home even more if you watched the funeral of Prince Phillip yesterday. Hugs to you and your dear family, I do remember your mother's post very well. xReplyDelete
Thank you, Kay. I did not watch the funeral of Prince Philip, but from what I have heard on the radio news about it, there were more people allowed to attend W's funeral than Philip's!Delete