For some obscure reason, I have been thinking about death. Of course it is with us every day, even though we may not think about it, on a conscious level.
I suspect that my thoughts were jogged by a view of the 'bones' of cactus over at Granny J's "Walking Prescott". I found this very interesting, & it seemed to tie in with my thoughts of death, & how it has affected me, at various times in my life, when loved ones have died.
When my beloved maternal grandmother died, it was a shock. She had a massive stroke, & we travelled, full of fear, to the Hospital in another city, to visit her. She never regained consciousness, but we felt she knew we were there, & waited for us, before dying.
My mother was paralysed with grief, & could not bring herself to attend the funeral, so I stayed with my mother, & didnt go to the funeral either. I have sometimes regretted that, but felt my mother needed me more. It was a terrible loss to us, as we had lived with her for a best part of my life, & of course, it had seemed she was invincible.. I know my mother grieved until she died.
The death of my stepdaughter was just horrendous. It took a long time to learn to live with that grief, & it will still catch me at times, with sudden tears, at the memory of her loss. And her little hand in mine, when I first met her. Her trusting brown eyes, when I told her she didnt have to call me Mum, when my Mil was insisting she did.
The next significant death, or the one with a severe impact on me, was the death of my Father in law. I was not particularly close to my Fil, but it just seemed so sad. He had had a stroke, & my MIL who was in early stage Alzheimers did not tell anyone. Consequently, he was in bed for a week, with no treatment before her brother found out accidentally what must have happened, & he called my SIL. She organised to get Fil into hospital, but didn't tell us any thing about it. Her husband went behind her back, & rang us to tell us he was very bad, just before he died. We never got to see him, & when we attended his funeral, it just seemed so horrible to think, we could have visited him before he went, if only my Sil had not been so spiteful.
Our fist instinct was to make love, as if the act of procreation, could somehow stave off the reality of the death. I have been told this reaction is quite common. A sort of primal instinct to reaffirm life & living.
We had to make hasty plans to fly to NZ for the funeral, & it was a sad journey. I cried all the way home in the airplane. It seemed worse, as they had cartoons on the screen in the plane, & my Fil had loved his cartoons. He loved to watch them with his grandchildren.
I had recently undgone a hysterectomy, so I suppose that, combined with Fil's death caused a sort of breakdown mentally in my health, & I just couldn't stop crying about it all. It was a truly awful time.
We had recently found out our daughter was having her first baby, & it seemed our new little granddaughter filled a serious gaping hole in our lives. Cuddling her, was like reaffirming life, & I am sure her appearance in our family had a great healing effect.
When my father died, I was devastated, not least because I didn't know him well. It was a sad funeral for me, & I wished I had had Gom with me. He had only met my father once, so he didnt really know him, & he felt he was needed here in Oz. I have blogged about meeting my half siblings for the first time at my father's funeral, which was a very bittersweet event. I knew for certain that I could never get to know my father then.
My Mil was the next to go. We had found out finally where she was, & had gone to visit her, luckily. We asked to be informed of any change in her conditon. She had advanced Alzheimers, & didnt really know us. Though, I felt she knew Gom was there, when I saw the tears come out of her eyes. We were let down over her death, & made a hurried dash to the funeral, & returned to Oz almost immediately after. It seems so sad to me, who has family ties so tight & close, that Gom & his only sister are estranged. A strange woman, who, in many ways has had a very sad life.
No one ever wants to think about the death of their mother. That will probably be one of the most devastating death's of all, for any person to cope with.
My Mum had a great sense of reality. She used to tell us in detail, what she did or did not want in the way of a funeral. She was very adamant there was to be no religion mentioned. No matter how hard you try, the buggers will always try to sneak it in!
Mum would have us in fits of laughter, in the end, about what she did, & did not, want in funereal farewells. Though it was terrifying to live through, I think that fact that we had had many discussions, & much laughter well before she died, was a help, in dealing with the actual funeral.
This post has turned out rather sad, which was not my intention at the beginning.
I have had a great outing with Gom & my Daughter J. We went to a seaside Market, & I cursed myself roundly for not taking my camera. Next time I will, as the building is lovely, & quite unique. It has been restored & is a fascinating place to see, even if we didnt buy any of the wares on offer.
We did have a lot of fun people watching, & were several times forced to choke back laughter.
It was strictly No Dogs Allowed, & we were greatly amused to see a very crabby looking old couple, with a little black & white dog sitting between on a chair, at a table. When I bent to admire the little dog, the womans face was transformed into wreaths of smiles, & she said "She is waiting for her dinner". And the old man beamed with pride upon 'his daughter'.
I will add it is an outdoor venue, so the dog was technically not inside. There were quite a few little dogs, clutched lovingly in arms, & they were all very well behaved.
There was a wonderful free puppet show, which had adults as well as children, enthralled. The characters were different & unique, & were very well made, & the variety of voices the puppeteer managed was quite incredible. We wished SG had come with us, but he had decided to stay home.
As we came round on our second lap past the puppet theater, he signed off, & said he would return in half an hour. DJ & I hung about wanting to catch a glimpse of the 'magic man'. After intently watching the back of his little tent, bulge, & sag, & bulge & sag again, we wondered what he could be doing in there. DJ finally concluded he was getting dressed! So off we went conjuring up images, & reasons why that should be so, & we never did get to see him!
On the way home, there was a sign for a Scout Garage Sale, so we called into that. They were on the last bits & pieces, but everything was half price, & you could fill a bag with books, for a dollar. DJ got some lovely books for SG, all in really good condition, & she gave them $2 for them. I got a box of puzzles, & games with some stuffed animals for $3, so SG scored the puzzles & games, & Leo will no doubt make good use of the stuffed toys.
It has really been a perfect Spring day here, light breeze, & 27 degrees of beautiful sunshine.
Hope you have all had a good weekend.
I have probably bored you witless with this longwinded affair, but since I didn't get on here yesterday, you might forgive me. I write it for me, in case I develop Alzheimers!
Janis Ian, Aftertones