The family were grief stricken when I saw them at their home.
The man’s death had come suddenly and, even though he was a good old age, it was a shock to them. In amidst the tears they told me about him; his life, achievements, and family – and then more tears flowed. “I don’t know how we’ll get through the day” they said. “And we don’t want a pauper’s funeral!
You may or may not be aware of how expensive a funeral can be. It is estimated that the average cost of laying someone to rest is £3500 –which is a huge whack of money for anyone; and an inconceivably large amount for this grieving family. And that was why I was there. Thankfully, after going from funeral director to funeral director – and being given quotes which they could never afford – they alighted on Bedwardine Funeral Services in St. Johns. As a smaller, independent firm they were able to cut costs to a bare minimum and help this family out. So when my friend from the firm contacted me to see if I would do the funeral for free, rather than the huge £180 which vicars charge, I was only too delighted to do so.
The funeral went well (if you know what I mean). The family were pleased that we had given him a good send-off; and I was happy that I had done a little bit to make a difference to this family. But the biggest credit goes to the Funeral Directors, who bust a gut (and no doubt their profit margins) to serve this family.
I don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t stepped in; probably this much loved man would still be in the mortuary waiting for arrangements to be made. So here is to community; to local businesses that want to serve ; and to a spirit of generosity and compassion which this family received and this man deserved.
After all, as Mother Teresa reminds us: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”