February 20th, 2008

Nimrod

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

I can’ listen to ‘Nimrod’ from Elgar’s Enigma Variations without thinking about dead police officers.

I’ve been to about 10 funerals of friends & colleagues which have been ‘official’ funerals. These are usually reserved for officers who have died on duty. One or two were murdered, a couple had heart attacks & the rest were killed in road traffic incidents.

The pall bearers are usually police colleagues in full uniform. The coffin is draped with the force flag & the officer’s hat sits on top The chief is usually there & one of the senior officers usually speaks of the life & career of the fallen officer.

Nimrod is such a moving evocative piece of music. Even heard in isolation it sends a tingle up my spine. Played at a funeral it can’t help but bring a lump to the throat.

There is something surreal about watching a coffin making its way up the aisle towards the altar & all the family & friends. It’s a bit like watching a ship traverse the Suez Canal, you can see it moving but you can’t see how.

I spoke at the funeral of a colleague a while back. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. He had a wife & teenage kids, they wept during my words which only made it harder to continue. It’s far easier facing an angry crowd of bottle-throwing thugs than standing in a church next to a dead colleague in a box.

I’m in two minds about police funerals. Whilst the grief from friends & colleagues is genuine I can’t help thinking about the falseness of a senior police officer – who wouldn’t have known the officer if he’d jumped out of the chief’s porridge – telling everyone what a great job he did & how valued he was.

I think if I die on duty I’ll get my wife to ban senior officers.

It’s be pretty cool to have my cap on the coffin, & maybe the force flag if only to cover the biodegradeable wicker coffin, and Elgar’s Enigma variations playing on the organ.

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