Three Funerals In A Week
For the most part I like to think this blog is a happy place. I love sharing our family memories, the milestones, the days out, the laughter and the smiles. I like taking pretty photos and inspiring other parents to treasure the little moments every day.
However, this is a personal blog and life doesn’t run smoothly sometimes. I don’t know about you, but for me it comes in waves. We’ll go through a great patch and then a rough patch. We’re going through one of those rough patches right now. It doesn’t seem right to gloss over the bad periods in our life, as they are part of life, like it or not. They weave into the fabric of our days, and shape our lives, just as the good moments do. We’ve got three funerals in a week and like it or not, they have had an impact on our lives, and I’m going to make it a positive impact, despite the sad circumstances.
About a month ago we had the shocking news that my brother in law had died. He was an alcoholic and had suffered from the physical effects of this for years, yet his death was sudden and came as a big shock. Because he was an alcoholic we hadn’t seen him for a number of years, not through want of trying I might add. He had become a recluse and only saw a few people. He fell out with a lot of his family and although people tried, it became harder and harder to continue to try as the years went on, especially when we had young children to consider. He chased his mother down the garden path when she tried to deliver him a birthday card, and that was the last time she saw him. I won’t go into the ins and outs of alcoholism here, but safe to say it makes mourning difficult. You feel angry, you feel guilty and you feel sad. All the emotions in one. The funeral was one of the saddest I have ever been to. Who wants to see a mother bury her child. I can’t imagine the horror.
Today I’m off to another funeral, this time of my Great Aunt. She was 98 when she died so she lived a long and happy life. She was an amazing woman, modern beyond her time, she was a professional woman and had a wonderful career – quite the feat back then. She married later in life and never had children of her own. My mum thinks that she would have liked children, but personally I can’t imagine her as the maternal type. I have so many memories of visiting her once a year as a child and my children did the same until she went into a nursing home a couple of years ago. It was her time to go so it’s not so painful, but it is sad and the end of an era. She lived a long way away from us and we hadn’t visited for 3 years, not since Little Boy was born. Again, not for want of trying, but when we had arranged to go she got sick and then life got in the way of us arranging another visit.
Then on Friday we have another funeral – that of someone my husband knew when he was younger. He’ll be going to pay his respects along with a lot of the same people who were at his brother’s funeral I imagine. He hasn’t seen his friend for a long time due to moving from the area he is from and not moving in the same circles really anymore.
So that’s our week of funerals. Three in a week is pretty horrific by any standards, especially when two of them have been close family members. It’s really made me think though. Today I’m travelling across the country to pay respects to my Great Aunty I haven’t seen for the last 3 years. On Friday we said goodbye to a brother we hadn’t seen in 7 years. Life is for the living and we should make more effort when people are here.
At funerals we catch up with people we haven’t seen in a long time. People make the effort, which is lovely, but it does feel a little too late. We hug and kiss each other, catch up quickly and promise to see each other more often. We make vague promises we probably won’t keep, not because we don’t want to, but because we are busy and life gets in the way.
So what have I learnt from this week of funerals? Life is for the living. It’s all well and good gathering together and making the effort to say goodbye to people, but we should put more effort into spending time with them while they are alive. When people call or text I’m going to answer, even if I’m busy. A 5 minute phone call is better than nothing. I’m making plans to see people I haven’t seen for a while. We’re going to invite people over for lunch and dinner and try not to worry about the state of the house or how much work we have to do. We’re going to spend evenings drinking wine in the sun, laughing with friends and spending valuable time with the people we love and care about.
I don’t want to be standing at another funeral wishing I’d spent more time with someone. Life is for the living and I want to make the most of that time. After all, when I’m gone, these are the moments of life that matter, time spent with loved ones, while they are still here to appreciate it.
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