The Funeral

Part 10

The funeral service for Barry was held at 11am on 30 May 2006 at Pine Grove.

pinegrove

When arranging the funeral, I was asked how many “Order of Service” leaflets we would need. I said fifty would probably be too many as we are a very small family – 14 in total, on both side of the family. The funeral director frowned and said she would do 100. Later, she phoned me and said that she still didn’t think that would be enough and she would do 150. I honestly felt that she was wasting paper, because we are not a social family with heaps of friends, but I didn’t argue. I didn’t have the strength.

On the morning of the funeral, Gary and I got ready quietly. Each of us was focused inwardly. We had been told to arrive at least 20 minutes early as we had arranged a private coffin bearing for family members only. However, when we arrived at the chapel it was already crowded. I never knew that Barry had so many friends. It lightened my heart.

It was soon realised that the coffin bearing would not be a private affair, so plans were quickly changed and everyone was ushered into the chapel. We waited. Meanwhile the first of Barry’s favourite songs was playing – “I Would Do Anything for Love” by Meat Loaf.

It seemed like an eternity, but finally the minister asked us to rise.

There were six coffin bearers: Andy (Barry’s Dad), Gary, Daniel, Jamie (Barry’s cousin), Peejay and Matt (two of Barry’s best friends). I saw none of them.

For me, the chapel was empty apart for me and the coffin. The coffin hovered in mid-air and slowly moved down the aisle towards me. I remember thinking that I was going to pass out; I staggered, but regained my footing. I know that in those moments I was distraught. The tears flowed freely, I was gasping for breath. My son lay in that coffin. I couldn’t accept that fact.

Words. There were lots of words spoken after that. I remember Gary standing tall and speaking clearly on my behalf. The words I had written, that would never feel adequate enough, were spoken with strength and conviction. Gary only faltered once when he tried to speak the personal words that I had written to Barry, but he quickly pushed the lump in his throat aside and continued in his strong voice. He held on until the end. It was only when he reached the pew, and sat beside me, that he allowed his grief to overcome him and he sobbed. Olga, the funeral director, then read the words Daniel had written for Barry – lovely, sentimental words that touched my heart and still make me cry when I think about them.

Then…we were asked to reflect on happy memories of Barry while his favourite song played – “Kingston Town” by UB40.

This is a poem that was read out next. The minister asked Barry’s loved ones to imagine Barry actually saying the words:

Do not sit here and weep.
I am not here, I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain,
I am the shining star at night,
When you awake to the morning light.
My time has come, I am at rest.
I am the sunset in the west,
I am the clouds that race above,
Where I watch over those I love.
Do not sit here and cry,
I am not here, I do not die,
So hear these words that now I say,
I am the love that guides your way.

Following the poem was The Lord’s Prayer and then the committal. By this stage, I wasn’t really with it because I knew the end was near and that my last goodbye was approaching.

To the words of a special song between Barry and his older brother, Daniel – The Wanderer by Dion – Gary and I left our seat and approached the coffin for the final time. I whispered “I love you” and placed a yellow flower on the coffin then turned and walked away. I refused to say “goodbye”, and have not said those words once as goodbye is final and I plan to see Barry again. I knew that the rest of the family had approached the coffin too, and I heard the minister invite the rest of the congregation to follow suit.

It was at this point, as Gary and I walked up the aisle, that I realised just how many people were present. Even the 150 “Order of Service” leaflets were not enough. The crowd parted to let us through the doors and I saw row upon row of grieving friends. Outside, at least two or three dozen more people gathered. It still brings tears to my eyes to know that Barry was so well loved, yet he left this world feeling so alone.

Outside, fresh tears fell. A sea of faces appeared before me, all offering a hug. People from decades past, people I’d never met before, Barry’s old girlfriends and school friends, and people who were just names to me until this sad day. No words were necessary. It was obvious that they shared my pain.

I deliberately arranged it so that we didn’t see the curtain close around Barry’s coffin. I’ve only witnessed that once and it was heart breaking. I couldn’t bear to witness it with my son, and I didn’t feel that anyone else wanted to see that either.

Barry’s family and friends came together to say goodbye. We cried together. We hugged each other. We reminisced. As painful as it was, it didn’t leave me with a sense of finality or closure. I still was unable to accept what had happened and that my son was gone forever. However, it did leave me with the feeling that Barry was loved in this world. As his mother, that was important for me to know.

Click here to go to Part 11: Bringing Barry Home

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The Funeral

  1. I was one of Barry’s many friends, he had helped me through tough times in my life, I miss him, I’ll never forget him as he wasn’t just one of my best mates, he was a brother to me.
    I wrote this for him…

    “IN MEMORY OF BASIL,” (KUNI, HONKEY)

    You were our light in our darkness,

    You were our hope and inspiration,

    With your presence, your laughter

    You were the heart and soul,

    Our mind body and spirit,

    You are our fallen brother,

    Rest in peace,

    But today we stand here,

    In times of depression, and sorrow

    Remembering all the good times,

    Not the bad,

    And I remember how lucky,

    Even though short,

    I was to know you,

    The day you went away

    Even God shed a tear in heaven,

    And now that you have left us,

    We feel incomplete,

    Thinking of,

    The first time, and

    The last time

    We saw you,

    Both filled with happiness,

    Laughter and joy,

    All the good times we had,

    I’ll always miss you my brother

    But instead of reminiscing,

    About how you left us,

    I’ll remember how you lived life,

    And when I need to be inspired,

    I’ll look to the heavens,

    And remember how,

    You inspired the uninspired,

    With your happiness, and

    Your kindness,

    You are my friend,

    You are my brother,

    And I’ll all ways remember you,

    REST IN PEACE BARRY

    We All Miss You

  2. They are beautiful words, Josh.

    You are the second person this week to say that Barry helped you in tough times. I always knew that Barry was caring and thoughtful, I never realised the extent of those things though.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and words with me. They mean a lot.

  3. The first time i met Barry i knew we would be good mates for a long time because i felt so happy around him, he would never fail to bring a smile to my face no matter what the situation was. No matter what me and Bazza did together it would always be fun, he would turn a boring day into an enjoyable day. I got to meet alot of people through Barry because he was so outgoing and spoke to so many people. I miss doing things with Barry like going to the footy together, driving around thinking we were cool. Barry and i couldnt wait untill we got our p’s so we could just drive around we thought that would be mad. Barry got his p’s first and came and picked me up in his VK commodore. We drove around for like a whole day pumping the music. He looked over to me and said ” Moeller weve finally got it” as in we were finally driving around together. It doesnt sound like much but to me and Bazza it meant the world to us because we had been waiting to do it for a long time. That would have been one of the best days i had with Barry just cruising around in his car, ill never forget it. Barry will always be in my mind, ill never forget him.
    Rest in Peace Bazza. Love you man.

  4. I knew “cruising” was a favourite pass time of Barry’s, and I can just picture the two of you looking cool. It’s a look Barry adopted in a lot of the photos I have of him. Even though your words touched my heart and brought a lump to my throat, they also made me grin. Thank you for sharing a memory with me, Matt. And I hope your own grief for Barry eases with time. Thank you for being a good friend to Barry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s