Thursday, 17 February 2011

Goodbye to a Private Man

Welcome IsabelleGoLightly from New York to my blog as a follower. She describes herself: "I am a very pretty Pygmy/Boer goat. I'm soft and cuddly and love my family and friends." It's a first for me, but I've learned not to ask too many questions. There are lots of 'awwwww' photographs on her site - recommended. Welcome anyway and have many enjoyable visits.

Today in many ways was a sombre occasion, not necessarily for me but for a friend and his partner. My friend's father has recently passed and today was the old gentleman's funeral.

The crematorium is very isolated in the middle of the countryside but is in a wonderful location high on the Wolds, north of Driffield in East Yorkshire, just below the border with North Yorkshire.
The countryside is beautiful and rolling and the crematorium is modern red brick built with hospitality suite with a room where families can have refreshments set in many acres of well kept grassland with a memorial lake with fountain, all surrounded by mature trees alive with cawing crows.

There weren't many there at the humanist funeral, but he had those that mattered there to send him off.
'The deceased had been a sailor who spent all his time looking at, thinking about, or sailing on the sea.' The service, according to the order sheet, mirrored what was close to his heart.

I've never actually met the deceased. Ever. I knew a lot about him because my friend spoke about him often and his partner cared for him in his latter years. I was there to support my friend and his partner.

The funeral was bright, short and had some lovely touches. There was a slide show of family photographs of the deceased and his family - so I could finally put a face to the character. There were a couple of modern pieces of music which acknowledged the deceaseds' time at sea and a poem from a younger son written in the funeral programme. My friend, the eldest of four brothers gave a eulogy that was both factual, touching and with occasional humour. He told the truth about his father's life talking about the man's real character, but he told it with dignity and composure. A fitting tribute.

The day has been damp and misty. I've been on the Wolds many times, but hit the day wrong and you get damp, raw conditions. Today was such a day. The weather of the day will soon be forgotten, the man will not.

The family chose a poem by John Masefield today in recognition of the time the deceased spent at sea and what it meant to him:
Sea Fever.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,

And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Chat soon



  1. Hello! There are quite a few of us blogging goats out there so don't be surprised if some of my goatie friends follow me to your blog!

  2. Hi Isobelle
    I might end up with a herd or a trip of goats? I best get some goat treats in.

  3. My husbands favorite poem and my favorite part of the country. You must have been close to Flamborough. Got to go look at the goats. I like all things that make you say awwww!

  4. It sounds to have been a very lovely and apt farewell for this gentleman - it is nice when something of the personality of the deceased comes across in a funeral. I actually like this crematorium; it has a real feeling of piece and dignity about it and the stained glass window is very beautiful, 'though I have to confess that I have very mixed feelings about that memorial near the entrance, which looks too much like a cairn for my liking.x

  5. I love the poem and how wonderful to say goodbye to such a wonderful man. To share in such a way you're sharing their whole life in a moment.

  6. That should have been 'peace', by the way!

  7. Hello ChrisJ
    A sign at the roundabout nearby said - 11 miles to Bridlington so not much further to Flamborough I guess. It's a most beautiful, simple poem - makes me emotional to recite it.

    Hi Elizabeth
    yes it was apt because of its simplicity. No flowers (he hated the idea, not of flowers, but the expense) and a simple hand printed funeral order sheet with a couple of photographs and a potted history of him.
    The crem is indeed peaceful and if you know it, the Haltemprice crematorium in East Yorkshire has the same window - very beautiful.

    Hi Jarmara
    I agree, a good description indeed; I've never looked at it like that but the eulogy was indeed a trip through his humble life, yet when put together, had so much in it. I always think it's a priviledge to be involved in a celebration of someone's life at the very end of their existence on earth. Kindest regards