Thursday, January 14, 2016

Oh Death, We Know Thy Sting

Many blogs are topicking on death. Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Brian Bedford. It brings it all home, I suppose.

I remember my father when his mother died. He came down for breakfast. He'd had a long night with his mother. He was her favourite, the youngest of six and the only boy.

"My mother died last night," he told us at the table in this dispassionate voice and carried on eating his toast and drinking his tea.

"What are we going to do?" I remember asking him. I felt nothing. She was an odd woman, my paternal granny, though very good to me materially. My mother couldn't stand her, with reason, but that's another story.

"Nothing," he said coldly, "Just go on about your normal business."

I was 14. This was completely at odds with how my mother reacted to her father's death. We children didn't go to the funeral or attend any memorial masses.

It was only years later, when Dad and I would travel together that he would allude to his mother's birthday as it coincided with the times of our vacations.

"My mother would be 110 today," he'd say, offhandedly over the coffee, but I'd catch the tremor in his voice.

And later, if we were walking along or playing our nightly Scrabble game, or he off in the shower I'd hear him singing this song from beginning to end, note perfect, word perfect:



We never talked about it.

12 comments:

  1. So many of us dont talk about things x

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    1. So very true, John, I often thought my father didn't know words to communicate deep feelings. And then again, very few do.

      XO
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  2. So should we talk about things? You sure? Dunno, m'dear, might always not be true. In an ideal world, when the objects we are either loving or something are less than what we'd want, it might be better to sometimes leave things unsaid.

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  3. Unless someone mentions it specifically, I don't talk about the death of three people who died in my presence. My mother, my wife and my father. We have to move on. But, you can't take the memories away whether you talk about them or not.

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    1. Some I find very difficult to talk about Ramana. Others seem to settle in and give comfort. I suppose it is all about acceptance.
      XO
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  4. Good point Mike. But then again buried feelings can erupt in unintentional ways and inflict much damage.
    XO
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  5. My father was just as phlegmatic when his mother died. He barely mentioned it and seemed to have no emotional response at all. I'm not even sure if he felt close to his mother or not.

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    1. It sounds like your dad shut down very early in life Nick from what you have written about him. These unknown beings and their influence on our lives.
      XO
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  6. Stoicism was the order of the day, then, wasn't it, concerning death. I think of all the families who lost small children, sometimes several of them, and managed to carry on and still find sweetness in life.

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    1. Having an unshakable faith in an afterlife helped considerably. "Oh well I'll see the child again ". Do you think?
      XO
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  7. I think we each need to make peace with the loss in our own way and hope that others respect our process. The hardest thing for me is if things have been left unsaid, so I try to work things out as they come up because we never know....

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