Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

the last view

 I had the sad duty to attend a viewing last evening. It is a social convention that I have come to accept  but resisted for many years. That stemmed from the passing of my great grandfather. That was in '68 and I was fourteen. I had never been to a funeral before. You must remember that was back in the day when children weren't brought along for everything. But, my parents decided I was old enough to attend the funeral. I distinctly recall going into Fred Williams funeral parlor. That is what it was called, a parlor. Just the name concurred up images of Victorian people all dressed in black and looking very stoic. I was encouraged to go " see " gramp all laid out in his best suit. The coffin was a gray metal one and I didn't like it. When I saw him lying there like that, I lost it. I ran out of that place as fast as I get gone ! My oldest brothers' wife followed me and comforted me, I'll always remember her for that kindness. Many years followed that I refused to go to any viewings or funerals. I find the sadness to be overwhelming.
 Over the years I have given in to that practice of going to the viewing and attending the funeral. Yes, I do it to show respect to those that are still here, I don't think the deceased care one way or the other. I don't go to say goodbye. I still don't really understand the need to go look at the deceased. And it really bothers me that it is called a viewing. Please, do not put me on display. I wasn't able to attend my grandmothers funeral and so remember her in her kitchen. My great grandfather though, the first image I get is him in that box. That is why I don't like viewings or funerals.  Not that I think anyone does like those things, but you know what I mean. When I attended my brothers service, he was cremated, it was just as sad. I think they call it a celebration of life nowadays but I can't shake the death part. Death is so final ! I'd rather celebrate when we are still alive, thank you just the same.
 It has never been my place to stand alongside the deceased and receive condolences. I'm really not certain that I could. Each one would be a reminder of what I have lost. I'm certain I won't need a reminder. As to whether that action would give me comfort, I can't say. I really don't do well with strong emotions. I know a man is supposed to be strong and not show his feelings all that much but that is in the movies. I'm thinking I would rather be left alone with my thoughts until I could gather myself. Could I do that in the time allotted ? I'm not so certain I could. As for myself, I would rather be treated as a wisp in the wind. I was here but now I'm gone. I want to be remembered for what I left behind. I want you to remember me as you saw me last.
 It is my thinking that these viewings and funerals are to spread the word. Let everyone know and acknowledge the passing of a valuable person in our lives. Is the intent to say that final farewell ? If so I don't like that idea at all. I will live on only by having my name spoken. In the old days it was the convention to not speak of the dead. It was especially taboo to speak ill of the dead. I think we have taken a different approach in the last twenty years or so. As I said the naming of these gatherings as a celebration of life for instance. I even see memorials as stickers on car windows. Quite tacky in my opinion. I really don't want to be remembered on a bumper sticker. My thinking is that it somehow gives comfort to the individual doing that. It does seem important these days to have outward displays of your feelings. It just seems that some folks what everyone to know the obvious. But, to each their own. My point is this, I would rather you find out about my passing in conversation rather than an announcement. In a conversation you would be asking about me, or I am the topic of conversation. That reason may be the obvious, did you know that he died ? With that question I am alive again however. At least I will be for the duration of that discussion. Yes, I want people to talk about me when I am gone. Isn't that what being remembered is all about ?
 Do you think this is all a selfish thing on my part ? I just don't want to go to viewings as I find them just so depressing. I really see no point in it. Attending a funeral is much the same to me. I don't want to say a final farewell. I will keep on talking to you whether you are here or not. That's my feeling anyway. I'm certain I'll be at my own but I don't want that either ! But then, that is not for me is it ? And that explains it all. This growing up stuff is a depressing business. Some things you just gotta do.