It can’t have escaped your notice there have been quite a few deaths recently; David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan and my Auntie; each having in common the speed at which they moved from one world to the next, leaving us with a feeling of loss, bewilderment and that numbing emptiness you suffer when someone who means a lot to you goes for good.
Of course we all know death is part of life, it’s an inevitability we all face but this morning, having attended my aunt’s non-attendance funeral, I realised that the Grim Reaper carries something else other than his scythe, under that cloak and in amongst the copious folds of those bat sleeves, he conceals a stop watch and a calculator.
Because not only does he have a tight schedule that he sticks to rigidly, he also diligently works out his hourly rate encouraging his disciples to keep the whole operation seamless and slick.
Oh, and he also has a rather warped sense of humour.
Let me explain; it was nothing less than a bolt out of the blue when I heard my aunt had just days to live, in fact I was so surprised I truly believed someone had got it wrong and she would soon be right as rain. As it happens I got it wrong.
I won’t go into the emotional bit, suffice to say she was a very much loved aunt who I will deeply miss but when I was told it was a non-attendance funeral I was somewhat taken aback, never having heard of such a thing; I was told I could stand and watch her coffin go into the chapel for cremation but I could not go in. Those were her wishes.
So it was with a heavy heart I drove to the crematorium arriving with 8 minutes to spare; just enough time to nip to the loo (it had been a long drive). Then straight to the reception area to see what was what.
However, during this time my aunt had been delivered from the hearse onto the platform in the chapel, I had visions of GR standing there with a clipboard and pen ticking names off a list. So had it not been for me seeing to the call of nature, I would have been able to wish her farewell as she passed by but as it was all I could do was give her a wave from a distance (it transpires you have to pay full price if anyone crosses the threshold).
But time and GR waits for no man or woman, no matter how desperate they are, he runs a tight ship and has no patience for dawdling and he’s watching every penny spent.
So as I enjoy my funeral wake for one; a cup of tea and a donut, I will raise my cup to my wonderful aunt and cock a snook at GR because even with his tight schedule and my visit to the loo, I still got to say cheerio to her before she went on her way and the only penny spent went straight down the drain!