Cleaning house

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Live, from Baghdad--

I am beginning to feel like a foreign correspondent, with all these remote posts. It seems that the only way I can get a post done these days is to do it from work. That’s a bit scary, considering how busy things are at work lately!

Our Re-buyer has been out with pneumonia, so I’ve been trying to do two jobs for almost two weeks now, and I tell you it’s wearing thin.

Today has been an insane day at the store—we were closed yesterday for Remembrance Day and you can tell. People always seem to think that the world is coming to an end if there is one day that they cannot spend money. Not to mention that the full moon is coming up, so they are particularly crazy and cranky.

The mother of a friend of mine died on Tuesday, so it’s been a rough week anyway. Visitation last night and funeral today. I left for about 3 hours in the middle of the day and then came back to close up. It’s very odd.

There don’t seem to me to be any more rituals more barbaric than a visitation. My friend Tamara is an only child, and while she has a lot of extended family, she has been pretty much alone having to organize everything and placate two families. Her mother was a Foster child, and Tamara’s grandparents are her mom’s foster family. Tamara knows her mom’s birth family, and they were involved, but it has been a tough week trying to play intermediary. She is having a hard enough time dealing with the death.

The death was a surprise to everyone. T’s mom was only 44, and a very busy, vibrant 44. She had had problems, which were complications from a couple of car accidents, but nothing that was really pressing at the moment. She committed suicide by overdosing on her pain medication. It was an intentional act.

T has been having a rough time, as you can only imagine. The good news is that she has a really strong network of friends to look after her. The anger portion of the program hasn’t hit yet—right now, it’s just the terrible, terrible loss.

Grief is such a bizarre emotion. It’s so overwhelming. All encompassing. It can take over every aspect of your being. And if it doesn’t, you wonder what’s wrong with you. People assume that you will react in a certain way, and if you deviate from their perceived notion of ‘the right way to grieve’, they think there’s something wrong with you.

I guess I have a bit of a different perspective on today’s funeral, as I didn’t really know T’s mom. I’ve been a friend of T’s for 10 years, but it’s always been as an adult. I’ve only met her mom once. I went today as a sign of respect for T…not out of my overwhelming sense of loss that her mom is gone.

I watched people in varying stages and types of grief today, and felt bad that I did not feel more. I was moved by portions of the ceremony. I was appalled by how quickly the minister sped through the 23rd psalm. I was amused by the musical choices (Phil Collins, John Cougar Mellencamp). I was intrigued by the clothing choices of the attendees.

I realized that the ceremony was everything that I really did not want my own ceremony to be. I do not want to be eulogized by some strange minister that does not know me or know my history. I do not want to have bad 80s rock played between half-assed prayers. I do not want people to be racked with grief.

I realized that I might not have made my wishes clear to the people that matter most. To the people that will be making these decisions on my behalf at some point in time. I know what my mother wants, because we’ve discussed it. But I don’t know if she knows what *I* want. Frankly, we never talked about it, because who expects to outlive their parents, and who expects that they will have to bury their own children?

I want a formal church funeral. I want it to be high Anglican. By this, I mean that I want all the bells and whistles. I want it to be BCP, not BAS. I hate the newfangled wording that simplifies things for people who cannot read. I want the music to be cheerful, but traditional and religious. The one hymn I want more than anything is “Lord of the Dance”. It’s cheerful, happy, and it’s been my favourite hymn from the first time I ever heard it.

‘Dance then, wherever you may be.

I am the Lord and the Dance’, said He.

‘I will lead you all, wherever you may be—

I will lead you all in the dance’ said He.

I want people to tell happy stories, not sad ones. AND I DO NOT WANT SOMEONE WHO CANNOT USE GOOD GRAMMAR TO GET UP AT ALL. Those of you that know me well know that nothing irks me more than someone who says ‘youse’ and ‘yourn’ and ‘din’t’. If you want me to come back and haunt you, then get some moron up to eulogize. That’ll make me happy. Forget kicking the bucket, I’ll come back and hurl it at you. Or, alternately, chuck someone upside the head with it.

Tired. Busy. Cranky. Must go back to work for another few hours. I’ll try to post more when I get home tonight.

And have no fear; you will not have to share this post with my mother any time soon.


  • losing you would be losing a part of myself. i cannot imagine that moment in my life, when i accept that i have lost someone so valuable to me.

    we shall not speak of this again.


    however, it does beg the question of our parents passing away, which still seems very remote to me.

    By Blogger Christine, At Sun Nov 13, 09:35:00 am  

  • We can drop the subject as long as you swear there will be NO JOHN COUGAR and NO STUPID PEOPLE. I'm counting on you. Luke will help. He's good at weeding out Stupid People. Maybe because he's so familiar with their behaviour patterns--considering how much they mimic his own. ;)

    By Blogger canadian sadie, At Sun Nov 13, 11:47:00 am  

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