Tuesday, May 8, 2012

grey day

This coming Sunday is Mother's Day on this side of the Pond. My mom's been gone many years as are both my grandmothers and my favourite aunt, so I don't have to buy any cards or make any phone calls. My mother-in-law has been gone since 2006, so Himself doesn't have to make any phone calls, buy any cards, or as with one year, have me buy one because he ran out of time. He never knew how hard a task that was for me, as it seemed that year i missed my mother more than usual, and there were so many great cards i saw that i would have loved to send.

It's just been one of those days where the weathermen were right. The rain really did come, and in earnest, so my wash hanging on the line is wetter now than when i first hung it out. By the time i saw the rains had come, it seemed pointless to dash out and get pelted as i pulled off the pins and loaded the sodden clothing into the basket, only to have it drip its way to the dryer or clothes rack (some of the washing is best left to air dry).

It's chilly enough that i want to start a fire in the woodstove, and although i had planned on having a lovely salad for lunch, when lunchtime came, i wanted hot food.

I found out yesterday that someone i've known peripherally for years is in hospice. This should come as no surprise to me, since he's had cancer for awhile, but somehow i was still surprised and so very sad. He's an encouraging sort of person, the kind who looks at you with eyes full of kindness and love, even when he tells you things you'd rather not hear but are really best for your benefit. He doesn't just voice platitudes, he's speaking as one who has walked the same steps. He is a man who has lived his faith, and when he leaves, there will be a dark space, for he is one of those great lights. Discovering that he's now in hospice care is simply another reminder that the generations i looked to for guidance and support have mostly left or are leaving the building. I don't feel ready to be the eldest one--it's a mantle i've never worn and had really no desire to wear. I feel inadequate and wonder if earlier generations felt the same. I somehow think not since they seem to have shouldered responsibility at an earlier age, while i see so many around me shirking theirs every chance they get. And i am often right there with them.

I was looking for a song to post with this and thought of Travis's Why Does It Always Rain on Me? and then Coldplay's Fix You. And then, i just wanted to get out of my funk and Larry Norman's Son Began to Reign popped in my head. It's on my funeral tape.

Yes, i made a funeral tape. I did it because i'd been to so many funerals where the music was awful. The organist sounded like someone fired from the roller rink. Ugh. That's when i got the idea of recording songs i liked with the idea that they could play the tape at my funeral or memorial service or what have you. All kinds of songs on there. It opened with David Lanz's version of A Whiter Shade of Pale, which is a lovely cover of the Procol Harum tune. It ended with Handel's Hallelujah chorus and all sorts of songs between, one of which was Larry Norman's Son Began to Reign.


Years after i made the tape, Mr McNeil died. He was an older man who was instrumental in getting the ball rolling on so many civic projects in the town next to mine--a real mover and shaker. He was buried in a Quaker cemetery, and a bagpiper was present to play Amazing Grace. The sun hid behind the clouds so the moment was appropriately doleful. But, about an hour and half earlier, we had gathered at the funeral home and packed the place shaking Mrs McNeil's and Son McNeil's hands. We sat quietly while a Methodist minister friend started the service off with a homily and then let it turn more Quaker allowing us to speak as the Spirit moved us or simply sit within the space of an hour. Trembling voices shared stories and thoughts, muffled sobs and sniffling noses punctuated the silences between. At the close of the hour, the Methodist minister approached the lectern once again, thanked everyone for being there to support Mrs and Son as well as each other. He then added that Mr McNeil had requested music he especially loved to be played as his casket was borne out and would we please follow. Would the undertaker be so kind as to start the music? Most smiled through their tears as the first notes were heard for in an instant, the room was filled with Dixieland jazz.

I can't help smiling every time i hear it played now. Even on dreary, cold, rainy grey days with sodden wash on the line and an aching heart wanting to send cards to people who are no longer on the planet.


1 comment:

  1. One of my neighbours phoned last week to pass on news of another (second home) neighbour who'd died. We both laughed as we reflected on the possibility of others phoning around about our own demises. Today... Tomorrow...