Wednesday 06 March 2013

I am at my uncle’s funeral. It’s not an uncle I have ever had a nephew-uncle bond with. I am mainly here because it’s the funeral of the brother of my mother. I had different levels of nephewing with my aunties, all but one are here. I don’t really see any of them anymore. One asks how long it has been since she has seen me, there is a clear suggestion we are talking about a long time.

Not wanting to bring the mood down I don’t point out that I was at my (other) Uncle’s funeral a few years ago, it seems easier – and less morbid – to maintain the pretence that I haven’t seen a lot of people in 20 years. And without trying to sound mean, or make light of memory issues that are clearly genetic and will probably affect me, the woman making the claim will probably say the same thing the next time she sees me.

Unsurprisingly the funeral is a sombre affair that I enjoy little about. This was my fourth funeral. The odd thing is the two that I have felt little at were those of blood relations (today and my Grandfather’s who, like my uncle today, I had little/no relationship with*). Fortunately after the burial I went to my pick my niece up from her playgroup and ten minutes in the car with her wipes out all the greyness of the day.

Later on I would get the train with one of my favourite persons, Miss Hannah Byrne. She pointed out that church services are all about God. At a funeral this seems particularly indulgent in an omnipotent overlord. No-one is blaming the fictitious deity for this, it’s humans I blame. Typical of us as species to grovel to someone else when we should be all about the departed. Yes, it seems to be framed in a way that’s saying God will look after the passed on but it’s done in a way that goes on about how brilliant he is for doing it. It made me think God is a bit like an evil dictator. Not Hitler-evil, but evil none the less.

So I learned little about the uncle I didn’t know but got reminded about how God is brilliant. At my funeral I’m going to have whoever is doing the ceremony, hopefully Keith Harris and Orville, talk about how brilliant Batman is – with only fleeting references to my disappointing time on Earth.

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