Saturday, 21 March 2009

Village death

As we arrived at the land on Sunday Madame Delgrano appeared in her car, smartly dressed as usual and on her way to Mass. She seemed pleased to see us and stopped the car to get out and have a chat; mostly with Ian as he speaks better French and it is less effort for her to talk with him than for her to try and work out what I am trying to say! She had watched the various stages of the build with interest (in between bouts of illness) and said she thought the house was très jolie, which is fortunate, since she has a full view of it from her house! She told us she was off to Mass and said that the following day there was a funeral in the village for a local man who had died quite suddenly.

The road up from the village gets maybe 2-3 cars an hour along it and very few stop. On Monday at about 2.30 more and more cars started to appear. They parked down by the church, up the side of the road almost up to our house and then down the chemin rurale (track). By 3.00 there were hoards of people down by the little church seemingly standing around. The gathering was still there as we drove off at 5.00.

Later we found out that the man who died was in his 70s and had gone to bed and not woken up the next morning. He had 10 children and everyone had arrived an hour before the funeral so that they could meet and chat first. It made me think about the few burials that I have attended in my life (most of my close family have preferred cremation). They have been for elderly patients where no relatives could be found and the social worker had to organise the burial. I sometimes went to keep the social worker company and there would usually be me, her, perhaps a carer or nurse and the priest! What a contrast to the scene in the village!

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