• Haynan

Funeral Blog: The most head-scratching funeral I ever directed.

As you can imagine, a funeral can be littered with potential issues and problems. Every family is different and every character within that family is also different. The key to avoiding potential problems is being able to read that particular client and a few years of experience helps - after all, funeral directors only get one opportunity to get it right.

That being said, the most confusing and head-scratching funeral I ever directed involved absolutely no problems, issues or mistakes! So why was it different?

Some years ago, I had a lovely lady enter the office asking for a funeral for her beloved husband whom had recently passed away. I spent an hour or so with her going over all of the arrangements that herself and he had requested in the event of his death. It was what we would call a 'standard funeral' - a hearse to an address with a limousine and a cortege to the local crematorium followed by a wake at a local pub. A couple of days before the funeral however, I received a nudge from the lady who worked in the office with me, informing me that she had a gentlemen from the Metropolitan Police on the phone who was asking for me by name and that he would not go into detail as to what the phone call was regarding... "strange", I thought. From the moment I greeted the officer, he began grilling me about how long I'd been a funeral director and how long I had been working for that particular funeral directors. Towards the end of the conversation and once he had asked many details about this funeral in particular, he informed me that he and some colleagues were from the SEG (special escort group - usually the guys who waft about with the PM or Royal Family) outfit of the Met Police and that they would be giving us a special escort throughout the funeral. "Strange", I thought, again. Upon speaking with my client, she informed me that she had been made aware and "expected this to happen". So, out of interest, I asked her why they would be wanting to do this and that in all my time within the funeral profession, I had never experienced a police escort from such a prestigious branch of the police. The phone went quiet and she retreated to changing the subject... "Very strange", I thought!

A few days passed and with no further information, we proceeded to the address, where my client and a handful of friends stood waiting to welcome us. Some American, a couple of Asian ladies and her family. This was all very... different. Moments later, the three SEG outriders appeared from around the corner where we then proceeded to the crematorium. The only way I could describe them is to call them the Red Arrows of motorcycle outriders. They were incredible - perfectly timed in every way even down to their indicators flashing simultaneously and their left feet touching down to the ground in perfect unison. They got us through red lights, traffic and roundabouts with ease and with a lack of stopping, all the way to the crematorium. Then, they disappeared!

To this day I have absolutely no idea what that man did for a living or in his past that warranted such a special send off from the police. A humble man with a humble family and house, ridden in escort to his funeral by them. Perhaps he was a high-ranking ex-officer that wanted a quiet send off? Or perhaps he was something more exciting like a spy! I guess we'll never know...

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