Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

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LIVING                                                                      JULY/AUGUST 2011

THE FUNERAL

She died at 02.20 on Friday, 17th June 2011. Two of her children were at her bedside, the other two on their way. A perfect death, she virtually died in her sleep.

The posters announcing her death and date and time of the funeral were posted on key lamp-posts throughout the town.

The funeral was to be at 5pm in her local church , the one in Kipseli square where she would worship throughout her life and would depart in death.

As the primary family, we were to wear black and  are supposed to continue to do until…George and his siblings were to arrive 30 minures earlier so that they could be present before people arrived to pay their respect.

The coffin was open and she apparantly looked peaceful. We sat either side of her. I didn’t kiss her nor did I really look at her. I wanted to remember her alive and to have kissed and hugged her when she was warm.

The priest who delivered the liturgy was the one who had baptised her great grand-daughter 8 months previously. Throughout the service her children cried. (I had cried silently into my coffee on the Agios Nektarios but I was unable to do this within the safety of a funeral and bit back any hint of a flow…oh the emotional constipation of the English!)

The church smelt of incense and the light was pleasantly bright. Once the liturgy had finished, the family followed by the congregation filed past the coffin, kissed Effie and then one of the icons of Christ which the funeral director was holding. The primary family then lined up to receive condolonces from each person. Our hands were shaken, our cheeks kissed and each person wished us  “na ziss”i  (to live longer)

The pall bearers then carried Effie towards the cemetry, the rest of us following behind. She was to be placed in the family grave, with her husband. The lid of the coffin was put on and she was gently lowered into the ground. At this point, my sisters and brother-in-law, along with some of the older grandchildren wailed loudly, even screamed, quite hysterically.This is apparantly normal funeral behaviour and is, I imagine, very therapeutic. Then as one of my in-laws turned from the grave, she composed herself and asked if anyone would like to come to the local restaurant for coffee.

As we left the cemetry, the funeral director, who had set up a trestle table covered with a white linen cloth, offerred us olives, a plate of cheese slices and small glasses of wine. He even had hand wipes for each individual to use before eating.

At the restaurant, waiters served traditional cups of sweet, muddy Greek coffee. They then placed a bottle of Whiskey on each table, which was followed by a steady stream of carafes containing chilled local retsina. Small plates of sliced cheese and olives dotted the table tops and conversation flowed. We discussed Effie, her funeral and other issues; all the time I was concerned not to laugh too much or appear to be having fun as this would be dis-respectful. We were brought large white bowls containing a lemon based soup each with an island of oven-baked lamb; it was delicious. We were sat beneath the branches of a large, comforting olive tree, symbolic for me of the reassuring safety that was Effie and as I watched the sun go down, I felt satisfied that Effie would have approved of her funeral. The ceremony  and feast were a success. More than a hundred people had come to pay their respects and the event had been well organised. We miss her though, our cog of normality whom we assumed would always be at her place waiting for us to find time to visit.

 

R.I.P  Effimia  Lorentzou. Born August 1917 died 17th June 2011


Alison Lorentzos                                                               copyright 2011



 

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