Friday, November 18, 2011


This has been a very difficult post to write.
I've started numerous times...
typed something...
didn't like it...
walked away.

So, I'm trying again.
This time I'm attempting to set my mind and fingers free and just see what comes out.

I've never liked them.
But who does, right?

I haven't been to many.
In fact I have only been to five in my 43 years.
And one memorial service.

Growing up in a farming community, my parents were always attending funerals,
or so it seemed to my childhood self.
We never went.
We always stayed with Nan,
or were at school.
I didn't even go to my Great Grandfather's funeral.
We called him Pampa and he died when I was around 11 I think,
I'm not even sure.
We were given the option to go, my brother and sister and I,
but I didn't want to.

Funerals in a farming community are part of life.
There are always deaths.
Just as there are always births.

And my parents must have attended a hundred funerals.
We were always sheltered.

I've never been good with death,
or funerals,
who is?

During high school a few friends or aquaintances were killed.
I sobbed myself silly every time.
Whether they were close friends, or not.
And then my very close high school friend died.
Her name was Sheryl.
She was so lovely.
She lived with her English family in Australia for some years and moved quite a lot.
I didn't know her long.
And then her parents decided to move back to England.
We wrote letters.
I still remember her letter saying how much she loved David Bowie's new song, 'Red Shoes'.
It was called 'Let's Dance' here.
Then one afternoon I got a phone call from a 'tough' girl at school to say she had died.
I thought she was kidding.
I was often picked on at school.
But surely this was too horrid to be a joke.
I ran to the dairy (where Mum was milking the cows)
and sobbing told her about the phone call.
She came home with me and called someone (I can't remember who)
and discovered it was true.
Sheryl had been grounded by her parents.
She decided to knot sheets together, just as you see in movies,
and climb from her second storey bedroom window.
She fell.
She died.
I cried for days.
The church in town had a memorial service for her because of course we couldn't attend her funeral...
in England.

And that was my first funeral that wasn't a funeral but was close enough.

I sobbed...and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.
It was embarrassing really, but I couldn't stop.

That was almost 30 years ago, but nothing has changed.

The next funeral I went to was the lovely mother of a dear college friend.
She died way too young of cancer.
She left three beautiful daughters and an adoring husband.
My friend named her first born after her.
And she is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.
She died after my friend's engagement, but before her wedding.
I went to her funeral with our group of college friends.
And I sobbed...and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.
I couldn't stop.

That was almost 20 years ago, but nothing has changed.

More recently I lost all of my three remaining grandparents
and my dear uncle who we grew up next door to on the farm.
All within five years.
Two of those funerals were a week apart.
I'm not good with funerals.
I sob.
Not quitely.
To the point where people start to stare.
And I'm not one to draw attention to myself.

So why all this talk of funerals?

One day this week I awoke to the news that someone I worked with had passed away overnight.
He had cancer, he was very unwell, we knew it was coming.
But it doesn't stop the shock when you actually hear the news.
I had quite a bit to do with his family many years ago.
I was not at all close since I resigned from my teaching job eight years ago.

But that doesn't stop the shock when you hear the news.

I cried, as I do every time I hear of someone dying.
Close or not.

And then I thought,
"I should probably go to the funeral."

But...I'm not good with funerals.

I read the email from the school principal.
She said that many teachers would be attending the funeral and relief teachers would be called in.
I was expecting the call.
I was hoping for the call.
I got the call.
"Yes, I could work on Monday."

I can't go to the funeral, I'm working.
I'm working so that others who worked with him more recently can attend.

But really...

I'm not good with funerals.


  1. Let's hope you are never good with funerals, because really, who wants to be.

    The last funeral (only my third) I went to I took a massive box of tissues and sat there with it on my lap, for all the world to see.

    That's just the way it is.


  2. Don't know that anyone is good with funerals, but I know what you mean. I sob doesn't matter whose funeral it is although the closer the person or the younger the person, the worse it is. I know with me it's this strong empathy...I'm a sook at the best of times (cry over sad news bulletins for example) so funerals with their sad imagery and emotive music and other people crying really set me off...

  3. I don't think you are a sook! I think you have the kindest and most loving heart. Funerals are the ultimate event... And I can only deal with them by almost removing myself from aspects of the awfulness & making myself think of the great and memorable times of that person.
    I was protected by my father from a funeral I wanted to attend, my dearly loved Papa. I regret not going to it but we lived 8 hours drive away . The first funeral I went to was my much loved Aunt. Her death was sudden from results of cancer found in emergency surgery. I was 36. I found it surreal. I've been to 2 Funeral Masses & they do contribute to the sad & mournful event due to length. My mum's was a simple church one, & at dad's request just family & close friends. Hers was a sad one but we also has a few smiles at the memories of mum. So Thea, my love, it's you dealing with this as you deal with most... You have a heart of love and emotion. That is who you are. Much love D xx

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  5. I've only ever been to one funeral and it was a lady that I'd never even met (a friend of my grandmother's). I am DREADING the day when I have to attend a funeral for somebody close to me. Dreading it. Having loved ones die is my #1 fear in the world xxx

  6. Funerals are never nice :( I understand where your coming from. My mum is like you... she sobs uncontrollably and loudly, I'm a quiet crier. Everyone has there own way of dealing and whichever way that is it doesn't matter... mourn however you need to!
    I lost 2 of my grandmothers within a week of each other last year. Death is never a good thing, but it helps if you try and think of the good times xo

  7. I recently went to my neighbour's funeral, purely to show support for his widow and daughter. I had no intention of breaking down and crying through the whole thing, but that is exactly what I did. Funerals are just so sad.
    I'm sorry for your loss, Thea, take special care this week xx

  8. Funerals suck. I don't think anyone is good with them. I know I'm definitely not.

  9. Funerals suck balls. The last one I went to was for my grandmother and I saw my dad cry for the first time in years. THAT was sadder than anything. Sometimes you just gotta cry out all the sadness. {{hugs}}

  10. I am terrible with funerals. What I hate the most is that when someone I love and respect dies, I really want to get up there and pay tribute to them. And I cannot. I cannot because I cannot speak for tears. Not just tears, but wailing, blubbering, snotty, unattractive ones. I am able to - usually - write something for someone else to read, but it really upsets me that I cannot do this one last thing for the people I love. I am not good with funerals either.

  11. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend :( I am not good with funerals either, and I too sob incredibly and embarrassingly loud. Except at my Papa's funeral last year, which I organised. I joked or stared off into space the entire time, it was easier that way. Until they led him away in the hearse and then I sobbed. Death sucks and funerals and saying goodbye is hard. Sob if you need to.

  12. I haven't been to many either, thank goodness. And weirdly enough, I never cry at them. Always before, always afterwards, never there. Odd.


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