Saying goodbye to a loving couple

A and B had been married for 70 years when they died within a few days of each other.

Their family was, of course, devasted, but really wanted to celebrate the long and happy marriage. We did that by arranging a joint funeral.

I felt it was important to remind the family that their much loved parents and grandparents were together. It’s impossible to put two coffins onto the catafalque at the front of the chapel so I arranged with the funeral director that we would place them on trestles, slightly angled so that the coffins were gently touching. As a nod to their wedding so many decades earlier, we placed the gentleman’s coffin in the groom’s position and the lady’s where she would have stood as a bride at the altar.

So that people watching on the webcast could be sure which was which, we put favourite items of clothing on the appropriate coffin.

I wrote the tribute as a rich tapestry of their lives, both as individuals and as a couple. When it came to the words of farewell, I repeated the wording of the marriage service, another acknowledgment of how they had lived by those vows.

All funerals are sad, of course. But in this case, the family could draw some comfort from acknowledging in so many ways that their loved ones had gone on their final journey together.