Today at 10am we laid our lovely Jim to rest. The sun shone which made for the most beautiful day. The funeral cars picked us up from Mum’s house at 9.30am and we arrived at Crownhill Crematorium in good time for the 10 o’clock service. Felt very strange to be riding in a Limosine behind the hearse although it’s something I’ve done a few times before over the years. We chose a lovely eco friendly bamboo coffin with just a single spray of yellow flowers on the top. Jim asked people to donate money to Willen rather than ‘waste’ it on flowers, but we couldn’t drive him through the city with nothing on the coffin looking all unloved and uncared for so we thought he’d not mind just one small arrangement.
I found it very difficult to take my eyes of the coffin. I’m not sure why but I even had to change seats in the chapel in order to be able to concentrate on looking at it throughout the service.
Once we arrived at the Crem we all stood patiently behind the hearse whilst people gathered behind us. When I turned and looked down the pretty walkway up to the chapel I was astounded to see so many people collecting to pay their final respects.
We all moved forward behind the coffin as the pall bearers carried Jim in and that was the point at which it all became very real and so very final. The minister was wonderful and really carried out the service in a way that reflected totally what Mum and I wanted and also gave a good ‘flavour’ of the lovely man Jim was/is. We sang ‘In Christ Alone’ which was the hymn I used to listen to on the way back from the hospice. It is a very rousing hymn with words that both reaffirm faith and give hope. Also very appropriate as we’re still in the Easter season. Not a dry eye in the place after singing that.
There were three readings but the one that sticks in my mind is the one Mum chose ~
13 “If only you would hide me in the grave
and conceal me till your anger has passed!
If only you would set me a time
and then remember me!
14 If a man dies, will he live again?
All the days of my hard service
I will wait for my renewal to come.
15 You will call and I will answer you;
you will long for the creature your hands have made.
We played this song at the end of the service which is just beautiful and I’ve promised Mum I’ll buy her the CD to keep ~
It was so nice to see all the people that Jim loved and that loved and cared for him. He was such a giving man and although I already knew that, it became even more apparent just how much he did for others in his lifetime. A truly Christian man, generous of spirit, full of humility and a great big Mancunian heart full of love. I heard someone at the wake say that you only had to know Jim a very short time before you found yourself liking him immensely. I’m so proud to have known him, to have been his daughter. I’m so privileged to have been able to care for him in his final weeks and although his illness was aggressive and devastating those weeks changed our relationship into some far deeper and more meaningful. A time that will stay with me for the rest of my days until I see him again and feel those strong arms holding me tight………