Today was my Uncle Merv’s funeral – very fitting to have it on Friday the 13th. I think he would have gotten a real kick out of that.
Since this is the first funeral I have attended, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Salvation Army side of my family organised the service and we ended up with an Army preacher who had never met my uncle and who suffered from an unfortunate speech impediment. Think of a toned down version of the Priest from “The Princess Bride”, and you get the picture. For those of you who had not seen it, the preacher introduced my father as Woger and made us all truly thankful that my uncle’s name only had one “r” in it. Most of the service consisted of hymns in keys that nobody could possibly sing and the preacher saying over and over that he had never met my uncle. Not really putting the personal touch on it. Fortunately, my uncle Peter and my dad spoke about their memories of my uncle and had pretty much the entire congregation, swinging from laughter to tears. Poor Lela is still in shock that my uncle taught unarmed combat in the Army. I cried my little heart out, so much so that my mother handed me a Kleenex. I wish I had the forethought of my cousin Sharon, who brought along a pair of sunglasses with her and put them on when she started crying. Religion, of course, had to be brought into it, with the preacher lecturing us on God’s plan and implying that if we didn’t follow it we would be damned. It was at that point that I wondered if being gay fitted into the Salvation Army’s view of God’s plan.
After the service, we had coffee and biscuits and got to catch up with members of the family we hadn’t seen for over 10 years. Then, in true Australian tradition, we went to the pub, cause we all needed a drink by that point. Not exactly sure what the rest of the pub thought about all of us turning up in funeral gear though.
It was a very long day, especially since the funeral took place in Newcastle, which meant a 400km round trip for Lela and I. Big thanks and lots of love to Lela for not only driving all that way, but for being there with me. It meant the world to me.