Two funerals

The girl was about ten years old. The family had moved to another place less than a year ago. The girl was singing in the children church choir. One time, she and her friend and neighbour Marianne were asked to sing at the funeral of a three year old girl. It was the little sister of a boy the same age as them and attending the same school.

Her parents were not at the funeral, neither were Marianne's parents.

The two girls were in the gallery. Marianne wore a grey woolen dress. What was the girl wearing? That memory is gone. It was also not important, since the girls could not be seen. The only other person in the gallery was the organist. He must have been the one who gave the sign when they were supposed to sing.

The girl did not take part in the funeral. She saw it from the upper spot. She saw the coffin and the distraught, crying mother, a woman so different from her own mother. The girls were singing: Good evening, good night. (Brahms lullaby)


The girl’s grandfather from her father’s side died. It was shortly after the girl had sung in another funeral of a three year old girl, the little sister of a boy the same age as her and attending the same school. The girl had not known so well her grandfather. The funeral was in the church on Gotland where the grandfather had been a priest. The girl went there with her parents. She wore a grey woolen dress from her friend, Marianne who also sang alongside her in the other funeral. In the church, the bereaved family sat in the benches in the front. Here were her parents, her father's brothers with their families, and her cousins. But she had to sit with her grandparents on her mother's side, far back. She was not in the part reserved for the family members at the front. She felt excluded. Her younger brothers were not present, because they were too small. It was not good for small children to be at a funeral, her parents had said. It seemed that they also tried to protect her from the experience, not reflecting that she already had had an experience of a funeral before.