Monday, January 31, 2011

Death, Estrangement and a Pint of Cider

There's about a zillion and three things that I should be doing... instead I'm prepping pages for some new wee books. They look rather pretty, hanging by colour, in my studio window. At least I've been productive.

I'm feeling sort of blah. Not quite maudlin, certainly not depressed, just blah today.

We drove to the big city for a memorial service this past weekend. A family friend passed away the other week. He was a nice man who bought plenty of rounds at the pub, danced with me at my wedding, argued with me about which was better Holiday Inn or White Christmas. He worked until the day he died at age 77.

I won't lie, I wasn't extremely close to the man, but he meant enough to make the 3 hour drive.

It was pretty clear that he wasn't close to his 5 children. They felt that he was distant. His affections were not demonstrative. The term "estranged" was used by one of his sons.

I can understand their sticky position. My own father hasn't spoken to me in years. It's been over 20 years since I've actually seen him face to face. If I were asked to speak at my fathers funeral, I'd politely decline. I don't know my father, he doesn't know me. He has chosen to not be a part of my life. I may not agree with his choice, but I accept it and carry on.

Honestly, I don't even know why I'm sharing all this. I suppose when someone passes you can't help but think about your life and the people in it. I'm definitely not the huggy kissy type. I admit to living more in my head than in the real world. I sure as hell hope that the people in my life know that I care about them anyway... even if I don't want to kiss them :)

Gah! When I'm dead tell my loved ones not to even bother with a service. Just have a pint and spare a thought or two about something funny we shared. Much better than uncomfortable ceremonies, tears, and bad music.


  1. It is an odd thing that death and funerals and all of that solemn business stirs such feelings to the top of the brew. I once worked in a cemetery as the record keeper and so many folks like to share at the time of a loss, even if it is not a particularly close relative or friend.
    I too am estanged from family members and sometimes when feeling a little maudlin I have a go at thinking how it might have been, but then I pull myself together and know it is for the benefit of all concerned.
    Your pages are lovely all colorful and bright and cheery....let's stick to those. Have a good one, The Olde Bagg, Linda

  2. I completely understand where you are coming from. Things like this can always bring up those what-ifs. I say just make sure those you love know you love them, everyday. Your pages are absolutely beautiful though. Keep yourself focused on the beauty. You are amazing.

  3. Ceremonies of all sorts always stir up the pot of emotions, be they funerals or even weddings. While I wouldn't call myself estranged, I certainly am not close to many members of my family. Whilst I may consider myself close to my parents and know that they both love me, if you asked me trivial things like their favorite books, colors, etc I couldn't tell you. It does make me downright depressed sometimes when I think about my husbands relationship with his parents and all the things he could tell me about them but then I remember everyone's relationships are different.

    What I'm trying to say, in short form, is that I'm sure your boys (and whomever else you may have been thinking of) know that you love them.

    P.S. Here's a hug, whether you like it or not. ;)

  4. Those pages in the window make me happy. I needed a smile today. I know how you feel about sharing a pint and a funny story. I'd much rather be remembered that way then by a stuffy ceremony and a bad sandwich.

  5. Funerals are funny things. We know instinctively that some sort of ritual farewell is necessary to wrap up our relationship with the person who's died, but we don't really know how to do it anymore. But I think the only thing worse than a dreary, uncomfortable funeral is nothing at all. That just feels like a final snub from beyond the grave.

    Surprisingly, I think the most effective funeral rite I've seen was my father's, which was a classic graveside "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust" service like something from an old movie, with the pall-bearers taking off their jackets to man the shovels to fill in the grave at the end. He was buried in a tiny pioneer cemetery in rural BC, and though Dad was scarcely more Christian than I am, the service seemed entirely appropriate to the place. At the other end of the social scale, I've been to a couple of very high Anglican funerals in the last few years, and though they seemed mostly impersonal and opaque to me, they too were effective in their own way. What matters, I think, is not the words that are said, but the feeling that the dead have been "put to rest".

    That's what you drove three hours into the city for, and what your friend's distant family hoped to find too. When the ritual doesn't work, though, it can leave everyone feeling disappointed and gloomy.

    Your lines of sunny paper pennants was probably a very good antidote.