A post from Fr David has reminded me of a rather grisly funeral I attended during my placement before ordination. My tutor was almost silent en route to the crem. This was unusual. There were just two of us there plus the staff from the crem. It had all been paid for by the council we were told.
We said the prayers and the committal and watched as the coffin rolled into place.
"I hope you're not charging the full price for that" said my tutor to the crem people. This was also unusual. We drove back in silence and slowly the story emerged.
The deceased woman had lived on her own. She had no relations or friends. She also liked a glass or three. One dark cold winter evening she had been sitting close to her coal fire. An empty bottle of Scotch was found later. When her chair caught fire she had been unable to get out of it. Her remains had been collected but there weren't many of them, the entire room had been demolished.
My tutor Julia wept as she told me this. She had tried but had failed to find any family or friend of the dead woman. We were all she had in death. We never discovered her story. There was just no one who knew it. We had done our very best for her. I hope she is now at peace. God rest her soul.
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