So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria, God and life, teaching and gardening plus the occasional cow

Reflections on a funeral

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God has recently given me so much to write about, especially things for Daily readings, which I’ll get to in due course. I even have softened against my conviction not to write my auto biography, I rarely speak of my childhood to anyone, and maybe it would be interesting for the kids. Enough.

One of neighbours (86) died last week after being ill with cancer for a long time (I’m not going to use the cliché). She was a lovely lady and lived a very quiet life with her husband. They were always pleased to see you, but were self-contained. When I saw her just before Christmas she was in a lot of pain and I think had given up.

So we went to the funeral and waited outside as the custom is here. The coffin was under an awning and you went up, sprinkled some water, took a remembrance card and then went and shook hands with the family. Mr B was there, looking absolutely distraught, and shaking like a leaf. The whole family looked numb. I was glad when they got him a chair. I was thinking about Mrs B, and how the whole process must have been such a relief at the end  for her, I could almost sense it. The Priest duly arrived and we all marched in. I had never seen such outspoken grief, nor it affecting someone so much.

When the service started, we were surprised when the singing was from the balcony above us, singing a lovely song about going home, in Austrian dialect, and she sang throughout the service.

I felt in a sense self conscious as I wasn’t going to cross myself , genuflect, nor did I know the words. I hoped the people behind did see when I did say the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed. I did pray a little in tongues for her.  I was then astonished when the Priest said her last words to her husband were that he could never understand what utter peace it was at last echoing what I had thought.

So it sent me into introspection and it made me realise as much as it will be a ball in heaven, I want to see this glorious, difficult life though to the end, I even began for the first time to see old age as another stage in life  and it isn’t necessarily a negative one. When the Priest began to talk about there being no peace in this life, I was indignant, there is and can be a peace, that is the Sabbath peace of Jesus through all this life, often found in the small quiet things, you can be calm while the storm rages around you.

Then I had that same daft thought I had when Simon D died, he was ironing in the house and I went back to check if I’d switched it off (twit), but when I left the second time I though, I wonder if he’ll remember me for that!  What a strange illogical thought! But the thought came again, I wonder if she’ll remember me for the Christmas cake I took her. I can’t get my head around that at all!  Mrs B is now without pain, and maybe cooking cakes too! Not in a cold graveyard.  But poor Mr B, he looked so ill. and unusually for an Austrian funeral, there was a cremation in Salzburg following the service and no wake. Just an Urn to be interned later. Will he want to live without her, or find a new lease?

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