Costa's Funeral

by Hilary  

Costa's Funeral

These entries have taken a gloomy tone, and this follows that mood. The day I arrived, nearly 6 weeks ago, Costa was taken to Hospital, unable to pass water, his body bloated. Each day Eleni stayed at the hospital, coming home every few days for a change of clothes, but the inevitable happened, Paie, he has gone with half of Potamia trailing behing the funeral cortege, with the priest in attendance, shaking his insence at stopping points on the road.

The night before the coffin arrived on a late ferry with the assistant priest and assembled, open, in Eleni's kitchen. Sitting on the seats outside were his family and friends. Each woman carried a bunch of flowers to be arranged around the body. We had bought a bunch tied in ribbon that had to be undone so they could be spread amongst the others.

Nico said the funeral was at 4, and we were to wait outside their house about 3.30, but ten minutes before that, Georgos called up, wanting us to go down to the cemetery in his car. He was persuaded to wait with the others until the Pappas arrived to shepherd Costos to his rest.

Nicos two sons where dressed in robes holding large halos of white and yellow flowers on poles, then 4 more relations came to start the procession in front of the hearse, each holding poles of flowers. The Pappas blessed the open coffin as it was put into the hearse and the crowd walked behind up past the school, down through the village and into the graveyard. The church bell tolled throughout the journey and friends joined the cortege along the way. The coffin was laid to rest in the small church whilst the Pappas gave the prayers and sang for his soul.

At the end of the service the family kissed Costa for the last time before he was taken away to be buried outside the church in a special plot beneath a palm tree. After further prayers we took a handful of dusty earth and threw it on the red mahogany lid, a reminder for us all of the fragility of life.

Georgos was confused and wanted us to go down to his brothers hotel for a coffee, he hadn't changed his clothes for a week or more. He wore a puffer jacket and camoflague cap, hardly registering the reality that his father would no longer be sitting at the table with him every day.

Eleni was exhausted and the doctor had to sedate her so she was unable to take part in his final farewell. We saw the Pappas visit when it was all over, so I hope she found some peace.

Only 2 more days left here, time to start cleaning.

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