Saying goodbye

Today was Ben’s funeral. We left the flat, caught a bus just at the corner then a train from Stratford to get to Colchester with a massive buffer. Everything was smooth and effort free. Even the taxi from the station was easy with the driver telling us that he had a funeral to attend himself, at 3pm.

After an interesting history lesson about Colchester, our driver dropped us at the crematorium, suggesting the closest cafe was actually not exactly close and we’d be better off waiting somewhere warm. We headed for the waiting room.

After a while we were joined by Will, Marsha and a couple of people I’d rather not mention because Mirinda describes them as Bad Apples. Annoyingly, one of these Bad Apples hung around us like a bad smell for most of the funeral. We did manage to lose her for a bit while the four of us went for a walk around the garden.

I figured we needed some jollity and insisted on being funny, pointing out some ludicrous things that would have easily made Ben laugh and did the same to us. Possibly the funniest was the wall of plaques. In among the proper announcements all prettily created on thin sheets of marble-like stuff, some wag had written G. Butcher with an indelible pen on one of the blank bricks.

This caused a lot of hilarity though not as much as Mr Goodbody. Many of the plaques dotted around the cemetery have a rose planted with them – as Marsha said it would look beautiful in the summer – but Mr Goodbody has a bloody great tree. His little plaque states he was a great father and friend. Given the size of the tree, I submitted that he was clearly pretty good fertiliser as well.

Part of the gardens at Colchester Crematorium

Eventually we were all ushered in and were lucky enough to get a seat – there was a multitude of extra people in the central aisle and overflowing out into the cold. There followed the singing of hymns, a beautifully appropriate song by Franz Ferdinand and three lovely eulogies about Ben. While infinitely sad and solemn, it was all still quite funny, just like Ben would want.

Afterwards we all retired to the 500 year old Peldon Rose pub where there was a lot of remembering, drinking and meeting up with people we’d not seen in many years.

I also had the opportunity of meeting lots of people from the college who I’ve only heard of before. Some of the students were very inspiring.

And we all talked about Ben and drank to his life well lived.

Ben in 2014, with his mouth full
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