My mum's funeral was yesterday. It went smoothly and I think it really did help me emotionally to say goodbye. Funerals are important for the living.
I was really sad all the previous day. I had been enjoying the holiday and feeling ok most of the time, but on Thursday I woke up sad and stayed very down. I didn't feel like I was where I needed to be. My body was still in Forster but my heart and thoughts were nearly 300 kilometres away. We went canoeing in the morning and swimming in the afternoon and the kids had a lovely last day so that was nice. I don't regret going away to the coast, even though it made organising things difficult. I think it was better than sitting at home.
We left plenty of time, we thought, to drive back on Friday. I thought we'd have time to go to the hotel first for a quick shower and change after the four hour drive. But there were little delays that added up - too long at lunch, getting back on the highway after lunch which was a bit confusing, heavy traffic in Sydney, GPS sending us to the right address in the wrong suburb... We had to be content with a very quick clothing change in the disabled toilet cubicle at a McDonalds (no time to worry about hair or make-up, I didn't care too much as I knew I would look a mess as soon as I started crying) and arriving at the crematorium a couple of minutes late and rather flustered. And then found that my brother hadn't arrived yet either. I was really worried about that, and we couldn't wait too long because there was another funeral after ours, but luckily he arrived soon after.
My uncle talked about mum's childhood a little bit, only breaking down a little at the end, but then my brother spoke about her final year and he was a complete emotional mess. Very hard to listen to. The celebrant gave me a look a couple of times, I think she was suggesting I go and rescue him, but he needed to get it out and he battled on to say what he wanted to say. I delivered the main eulogy about mum's life and my stage experience helped in that I was able to read my speech with only a bit of trembling. There was a slideshow of photos of mum with some moving music - I had to chose the music for the day and I spent a lot of time on it, I was really happy with it in the end. Is happy the word? Content. Satisfied.
We had a wake at my uncle's house afterward and I heard some great stories from the women from mum's work - it sounded like she treated them all like her daughters. Then a family dinner, stayed at a hotel, and drove home today. I am glad it is all over. It does feel like turning a page, or letting go. I had a year's warning before she died, and I spent quite a lot of time with her in those last couple of weeks. She didn't want to linger any more than that. Time to say goodbye.