Thursday, August 08, 2013

Memento Mori


He was a tough, stocky fellow with a loud grating voice. I sure didn't enjoy his behaviour at our weekly village card game. He banged the table a lot. He was a school bus driver and had a rough cut to him. Apart from his beard. Which was immaculately trimmed. A big red face. If I'd been a kid on his bus I'd have been terrified of him. He basically ignored me even when we shared the same table. And then a couple of months ago I found out from someone else he had cancer. Real bad.

So next time he was at my table at cards I hesitated and then said to him I was sorry to hear of his troubles. And meant it.

"Oh," he said in his big roary voice, surprised like, "I'm just about getting used to it. I had a treatment in Halifax last week and they said I was riddled with it."

I scrambled for something to say. What in gawd's name does one say?

"I can't imagine what you're going through...if there's anything..."

"Why!" he shouts, "That's very kind of you. See, I'm trying to spend as much time with the four young grandchildren. And the wife. She's sick too....."

Yesterday he died. We had two minutes of silence at the card game.

And then, simultaneously, everyone in the room banged their tables.



15 comments:

  1. I makes me wonder how he did deal with it. He apparently didn't share his feelings much. What goes on in people's minds and what is lost when they are gone?

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  2. It's an awkward situation when someone you don't like very much is suddenly in some big personal crisis and obviously crying out for sympathy. A change of emotional gear is abruptly called for. As Irene said, I wonder how he did deal with such a shocking diagnosis. Why are so many men so secretive?

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  3. Sounds like he dealt with his troubles in his own way. More power to him. Too often, people want to dig into the feelings and emotions someone is experiencing during a time of illness or personal tragedy. I’m one of those people who don’t share feelings or information much for that matter. I have & know my boundaries and try to educate others as to where those boundaries are. As I’ve told people in the past, I appreciate knowing that you care and when I say thank you, please accept that it’s as far as the conversation will go. Some do understand.

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  4. GM:

    I didn't want his passing to go unnoticed.

    XO
    WWW

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  5. Irene:

    I imagine we can only guess. People are entitled to privacy and we will all have this choice one day unless we are taken suddenly.

    XO
    WWW

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  6. Nick:

    It's not that I disliked him, I didn't know him enough to form an opinion. I was taken aback though at the glimpse of the child I saw within him and it taught me once again not to judge other people's outsides.

    XO
    WWW

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  7. Veep:

    I understand completely where you're coming from. Interestingly enough I was talking to a pastor on the phone this morning about boundaries and establishing them and being clear about them.

    Life is full of such serendipitous events.

    Death can be as private as we want.

    XO
    WWW

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  8. I love your description of the ceremony and ritual around his passing at your weekly card game.

    He put some of his final energy into his grandchildren much like my own grandmother did with me even though she also had teenagers and young adults still at home. xo

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  9. Nice! And cool that he saw the value in spending lots of his final time with family.

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  10. Orla:
    Yes the future generation and what we leave them. I saw on the paper he had 3 grandsons and a granddaughter by the lovely name of Natasha.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. SAW:

    Isn't it all we have though? Both by blood and desire.

    XO
    WWW

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  12. Thank goodness
    no tobacco or alcohol
    on my list
    but
    many of the remainder on my list.
    Thank you for sharing
    You have come a long way
    like this One Woman
    Still some issues this is
    dealing with
    but thank goodness the list
    is shorter :)

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  13. OWJ:

    I think you meant to comment on another post :)

    But I get it.

    XO
    WWW

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  14. What a wonderful way to mark his passing. As I was reading the last line, I felt my own hand reach out to bang my desk...

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