An extract from A Voyage Without my Father

I have previously stated the passing of my mother was obviously a serious and poignant occasion, but it also had its comedic elements which my mother would have found hilarious.

On the day of her funeral and at the cemetery where her interment was to be carried out, as is the custom, the names of those due to be buried are placed on a noticeboard alongside which is indicated the prayer hall to be used.

We arrived in plenty of time to meet and greet those kind people, both family and friends, who were to accompany the coffin to the graveside and recite the various prayers and psalms. Unsure what prayer hall the service was to be conducted in, with heavy saddened eyes we looked at the noticeboard. Hetty Cluer – Burial 12 noon, Prayer Hall 2. Satisfied with this knowledge we, the mourners, took up our strategic position outside the relevant location and prepared to greet our guests.

To our surprise, people were looking at the noticeboard, turning and seemingly to make their way back from whence they had come and not toward us.

Immediately taking charge of the situation, my sister in law Rachel rushed over to the confused party asking, “Where are you going?” to which the response came, “We thought we missed the burial!” “Why would you think that?” she said and in unison, arms were raised and fingers pointed to the names on the board, Moscow – Burial 11:00, Prayer Hall 1.

The incredible coincidence was revealed! Another Mrs Moscow (my mother’s married name to my father) had been interred earlier that day and hence the confusion was revealed. But the hilarity amidst the grief had not yet finished, for on arriving at the graveside, directly next to the place where my mother was to be lowered, was the grave of the said Mrs Moscow.

My mother’s final prank had been played and the inscription on her gravestone resonated absolutely with whom she was.

‘Her sense of fun will live on forever’