This week, my friend Rebecca shares a surprising, delighting moment at a recent family funeral – to come across an Order of Service recipe.
“Pat Mills, died at the end of last year and in my family, that officially marks the End of an Era. Pat and Bunty were legends. They were distant cousins of ours – second cousins twice removed or something like that. Our branch of the family and their branch of the family got to know each other for reasons lost in the midst of time.
“Pat and Bunty were sisters and lived together their whole lives. They were the relatives we got dragged to visit under protest when we were kids, just like our mother before us and the younger cousins who came after us. We’d be made to be on our best behaviour and have to go on ‘jolly walkies’ with them and their dog. As children, we considered this beyond boring. They were famous for sending scratchy jumpers for Christmas or kitchen gadgets whose use it often took us days to fathom out.
“Although they both worked when they were younger, Pat as a Home Economics teacher and Bunty as a Matron in a Boy’s School, I only knew them when they were older and spent time as stalwart members of the Women’s Institute and judges at their baking competitions. They travelled to various countries to visit family and had an impressive network of Godchildren. They had posh English accents and could be forthright in their opinions, sometimes to the point of rudeness. They were like characters from a bygone era.
“As I grew older, again like generations before us, myself and my siblings grew to appreciate Pat and Bunty. They were very kind to my mother when she was younger, even taking her to Italy when she was 14, which was quite a big deal back then. Pat had some health problems for many years that resulted in her losing most of the use of her right arm but she never complained or let it hold her back.
“It was therefore really touching to see that in the Order of Service at Pat’s memorial last month, two of her favourite recipes had been printed. The Spiced Tea Bread was made by one of her godsons and served at the reception. I’ve no idea whose idea it was but it seems so fitting and raised a smile amongst those of us who will always remember her.”
Thanks Bex. I loved this story. And loved the novel approach to personalising an Order of Service.
If you’ve come across an inspiring idea for a funeral, let us know. We love to share new ways of making the moment count.
In my own family, a poem by my dad for my brother appeared on my brother’s Order of Service – a very moving tribute on a sad day. This heartfelt memory was written 30 years ago, remembering a day decades earlier when my parents – country folk – had to take their first son to the city and leave him there in that vast unknown, as he set off for university and life. Seeing that poem in that setting struck a melancholy, desperate note that echoed the feelings of all the family abandoning a brother, husband, father, uncle once again to a great unknown.