For those outside of the UK, you may be surprised to know it can take 2-4 weeks from death to funeral, but that is what it can take and in our case the funeral was 2 weeks and 1 day after Jo’s death.
The day came and I had been told that it would be a big crowd, but I was amazed at how many actually turned up, I estimated 200+ people packed our small village church, with many having to stand and all seats including the choir and temporary seats brought in for the service filled. Friends and family had travelled from as far as Ireland and Scotland to attend. The local school where Jo had been a teaching assistant had closed so her colleagues could attend, as well as many parents of children she had helped teach.
She was carried in to the church by myself, our son, my eldest son (her stepson), her brother, nephew and my best friend in a white coffin. She had given me strict instructions on how she wanted her funeral to go and what she wanted, from the colour of the coffin, to the songs, to the poems, to the flowers and to who she wanted to do what, all I had to do was make it happen.
Our daughter and myself did tributes to her which I hope did her justice, I certainly know my daughters did, she was so strong and spoke so eloquently for a 15 year old in front of a large crowd in a highly charged and emotional atmosphere. I managed to say roughly what I wanted and only started to break down during the very last sentence or two and I hope she would have liked it.
She would have been so chuffed if slightly embarrassed that so many people had turned up for her, she didn’t really like being the centre of attention, but then again she loved being with her friends and secretly I think she sometimes liked it.
The wake also went well lots of laughter, memories shared and a prosecco toast which was her favourite drink, I think she would have loved it.
Alongside all this, Jo had specified that she didn’t want flowers apart from a couple from her family and instead requested donations to Cancer Research UK, we amazingly have already raised over £2000. If you would like to donate, you can at the following link Jo’s fundraising page.
It’s almost a week since the funeral now and everybody has headed home and I am delighted that Jo’s ashes have now returned to our home in an urn that I think she would love. She didn’t want a traditional urn and she loved a bit of bling, so hopefully it fits her spec.
I also must say how great the undertakers, church, vicar and the venue for the wake were, they all made it go so smooth.
Now I need to find my new normal, I will keep you updated as I work out what that is and how I get there.