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A Tale of Two Funerals

Mrs Bigrab and I attended our second funeral of the week today. On Monday I took a chord at the graveside as we buried my uncle, and today we were at our friend Fiona’s funeral.

Monday’s funeral was sad and left a family without a husband, dad, grandfather and uncle. Today’s loss was of a wife,daughter, mother sister and aunt. The thing which separated them and I mean no disrespect to my uncle here, was tragedy.

George was 82 and lived a full life. We were there to celebrate that fact and to say goodbye to a much loved man. There were many funny stories and anecdotes exchanged at the reception and it was generally agreed that he had a good life and had been fortunate indeed to enjoy good health for most of it (surviving a serious illness 8 years ago).

Today was different. Fiona was 49.

You could almost touch the silence in the packed crematorium when the organ stopped playing the incidental music in the minutes before the service. There was a tension evident in almost all the faces present. My good friend David “Kit” Carson read the eulogy on behalf of Gilbert. He did an absolutely brilliant job, reading in the first person the humorous, sad, poignant, loving and tragic words that “Bert” had written. Kit managed magnificently until the last sentence when emotion got the better of him. At that point the majority of the congregation including Yours Truly wiped away a tear.

Bert and Fiona were always into their music. One weekend in London was spent at the opera on the Friday evening and the Who on the Saturday!

Bert’s choice of music (presumably in consultation with Fiona) today was great. At the reception I heard this track. The fantastic Nick Drake and Northern Sky.

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you’re here
Bright in my northern sky.

It’s been a long time that I’m waiting
Been a long time that I’m blown
been a long time that I’ve wandered
Through the people I have known
Oh, if you would and you could
Straighten my new mind’s eye.

Would you love me for my money
Would you love me for my head
Would you love me through the winter
Would you love me ’til I’m dead
Oh, if you would and you could
Come blow your horn on high.

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you’re here
Bright in my northern sky.


Fiona Lawrie

On my previous blog in June 2007, I recorded a happy occasion when two of our friends, Gilbert and Fiona were married.

Today with heavy hearts, barely eighteen months later, we shall be attending Fiona’s funeral. After feeling unwell in September she was diagnosed with cancer and life for her and Gilbert in the weeks since has been a roller-coaster of hope and despair.

Fiona on her Wedding Day.

I was never once in Fiona’s company but she was smiling (even the last time I saw her a few weeks ago when she was very ill). She was a great hostess at the parties we attended at their home.

She would have celebrated her fiftieth birthday this year.

Sue, the girls and I send our deepest and sincere sympathy to Gilbert , to our friends Jane (Fiona’s sister) Peter and family and to Fiona’s mum Christine and son John.

Edit 7/01/09 I only realised when Mrs B said, that I took the above photo. It was used for today’s Order of Service.