We went to a funeral once at Bangor crematorium which scored highly on the contemplative side; much 'wissy' music and private thoughts but little audience participation - by which I mean no hymns or prayers. OK, that was the family's choice. Communing with whatever I believe in I'm happy to keep a private affair but I've come on such an occasion to share and make sense of loss with my fellows and support the bereaved family. We sat, for three quarters of an hour, each in our own little bubble - and left feeling something was missing - we had been 'gathered together' but there had been little sense of gathered togetherness. No sense of a coming together to either mourn or celebrate a friend held in common.
At a Thanksgiving service held today for the elderly Granny T. our community gathered with her family and sang their hearts out. The Chapel was full and those in the packed village hall heard the service relayed. We rose to our feet and raised our voices to the roof. I was rather hoping for 'Abide with Me' but at a proper Welsh funeral there was, as there surely must be, 'Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah'.
I bet you could have heard us in the next village. I have never been part of that before - even when as a schoolgirl 600 of us would assemble to sing on a daily basis. Brilliant. Singing it seems, even for those of us tone deaf souls, still hits the spot. Faith? Well, that can still remain a private affair but I'm sure the Minister's words were truths and a comfort to many.
And then there was a proper funeral tea - mountains of sandwiches and cake and a bottomless teapot. Granny T - rest assured - it was a right good do.