Michael K was buried yesterday morning. He was 50 years old. Three of his children attended his funeral, together with about fifteen other people who knew him, including his first wife. I’m not sure if he had other children, but that was all that turned up to a spartan chapel in a local cemetery.
I would like to be glib and say, “It was a nice funeral.”
In a way it was. The flowers on and around his coffin were beautiful. The mourners, especially the British – for he had many British friends – were warm and supportive towards the members of his family, saying kind words and offering sympathy and hugs. We sang one of his favourite hymns well: There Is A Hope.
But it wasn’t a nice “he had a good innings” funeral. He died too early, alone and lonely and lacking love and hope. His partner had died slowly and painfully three years ago. He had been in and out of jobs since then. When he was working, he was doing shift work and could not get to church to be with his church family. As for his “blood family” to quote the Prince of Wales’ brother, I think his relationship with them over the years had been strained.
Michael was what we Brits call “a bit Marmite.” You either loved him or hated him. I myself enjoyed his company, as long it did not involve endless hours spent on a summer afternoon in an Altstadt Irish pub. Michael, a German, knew the words to a vast array of Irish rebel songs. Sometimes he’d tweak the lyrics. Sean South of Garryowen became Sean South of Gerresheim. He and I used to sing these songs every now and again together… All his years working in IT in Scotland and Eire had not gone to waste. I guess his local pub in Scotland must have been full of Celtic fans, judging by his repertoire. Oh yes, he also had an encyclopaedic knowledge of East Germany jokes.
We got on well.
We often used to sing Fields of Athenry while strolling through the local park.
Michael, they have taken you away. May you rest in peace.
Have a peaceful day, wont you!