Day 3 after Michael died.
Sitting at his aunt’s kitchen table, a luke warm mug of tea in my hands, the lady from the funeral directors arrived. Suitably sombre, respectful, organised and immaculately presented.
Her briefcase matched her lipstick that matched her blouse that matched her manicure. A classic string of pearls around her neck. Her smart court shoes matched the colour of her skirt suit.
Her bouffant hairstyle and dark eye make up had a familiar look to it…? I couldn’t work it out.
Lots of forms passed in front of me. I signed them next to the cross and the manicured index finger. I felt like a dense smoke around my head was muffling everything that went into my ears and out of my mouth. My brain was mush. Ow, my eyes are stinging.
What music did he like?
Who will make the eulogy?
Did I want to speak at the funeral myself?
Seriously?! Do the freshly-widowed stand up next to their life partner in a box and speak to a full room of washed-out faces?
I have no idea what’s going on, I can’t make decisions like this on the spot. But
“Arrangements have to be made, Kate.”
So we went shopping. The kind lady produced a half-dozen slim brochures from her maroon briefcase and leafed some open onto the table in front of us.
We had to choose a coffin. The plethora of materials, linings, finishes, handles, custom paint jobs even, was overwhelming.
Do people actually get buried in a coffin with Manchester United’s team portrait painted on it? Yep, they do. And why not? They just died for Christ sake, they can have whatever the heck they want on those things as far as I’m concerned.
But what about what Michael would have wanted? Native Aussie timber? An Aussie flag? I thought for a moment of him eagerly leafing through the brochures with me, grinning and excited at the chance to choose his style of exit. What would he think about…
“We’re gonna burn the damn thing anyway, so there no point spending a load of money on it, right?”
“And it’s not like I weigh a hundred kilos, so it doesn’t need to be a fancy strong/reinforced one.”
Nope babe, it definitely doesn’t.
“I’ll take whatever is the lightest, most environmentally friendly thing you’ve got, please. Plain, no paint job. No fuss. That’s what he’d choose.”
The kind lady left and we waved her goodbye in the driveway. Michael’s aunt turned to me;
“Thank heavens, she’s gone, I couldn’t hold it together any longer. She was the spitting image of Patsy from Absolutley Fabulous!”
We howled with laughter and hugged and cried. My husband is dead and I just went shopping with Patsy Stone.