It was a sad occasion Monday (16th Sept) as the Huzzey side of the family gathered in Cardiff to say a farewell to my uncle Richard. I was going to just pop a few notes on facebook but it was when sending messages to an American* cousin, who takes a great interest in family events, that I realised it would be a good idea to write a little more, if only for the American side of the family.
It was a lovely late Summer's morning, lots of sunshine but a chill in the air. We arrived early as we'd followed my mum and dad up from Roath and left early just in case of school traffic. Lots of family and friends gathered and it was especially heart-warming to see members of the Cardiff Mini Club there, of which my uncle had been a founding member. The chapel was fit to burst and some folks stood at the back. Seeing Richard's boys - Lewis and Luke - as pall-bearers was heart-rending. What an awful thing... to carry your dad's coffin. God bless them, I don't know how on earth they coped.
The singing of the hymn (Love Divine) was amazing - the Welsh fittingly fulfilling one of our stereotypes. It was like standing in the middle of a group of male voice choirs. The booming words echoed in the chapel.
After the service, many of us stopped to chat outside and then friends and family moved to the Manor Parc Country Hotel. It was a wonderful opportunity to chat with people we hadn't seen for so long. It reminded me that the last time I saw and chatted to uncle Rich was my nan's (his mum's) funeral, and as usual he had had a smile on his face. He'd gone through a lot of problems with his health but you could always rely on Uncle Rich to crack a joke and have a laugh, nothing seemed to get him down.
A funeral is always going to be a sad occasion, and so it was on Monday, but I like to think once the tears have been dabbed away, it's a time for remembering and reminiscing. Having kept in touch with Lewis online for sometime, I was able to have a good chat with him about his recent trip to see Manchester United, and laugh with him about his dad being a keen Chelsea fan.
Then there's the people you bump into, like Alison, the daughter of my (Great) Uncle Herb and (Great) Auntie Deed. It was fantastic to chat to her about her mum and dad. When I stayed up my Nan and Da's in Pentwyn I used to pop over to Herb and Deeds' house. I spent many happy times over there with their budgie, who Alison told me Uncle Herb taught to swear! Perhaps I was too innocent, but I didn't remember that detail. What a lovely lady to chat to, just like her parents were lovely to spend time with all those years ago.
In their little corner of Pentwyn my Nan and Da lived across the road from Auntie Deed and Uncle Herb who lived a couple of doors down from Uncle Rich and Auntie Jackie. So staying up my Nan's meant visiting all three! Alison said that when they were young children her and Richard used to play together and as little more than toddlers Richard had asked to marry her! It's funny the things that stick in our memories isn't it?
Speaking to mum afterwards and reading what others had to say it seemed that everyone 'enjoyed' the funeral. I now that seems a weird thing to say, but I'm sure all of us would want the same when we go - to have our family and friends remember us fondly and gather to celebrate, just as the Irish do, to remember a life, to remember the good times.
I'm sure there's bits I've missed out, but I hope this will give my cousins and other relatives in America a little taste of the funeral of their relative, Richard Vivian Huzzey
*or strictly speaking a Texan as my best-man insists they should never have joined the Union! He is bonkers, but he could be right I suppose.
And as I mentioned on facebook - it was Paul Dingle's idea that I should take some sarnies home in his words "I am, and I only live 'round the corner." Just in case anyone thought I was like Albert Steptoe! :)