Well, I don't think today is going to be my funniest blog entry. Sorry. Been to L's funeral today in darkest North London. I thought I was going to have to take my passport + have a vaccination to get there (did I make a funny?). So now, full of pound cake + sweet sherry (bollocks to the diet) here are my ramblings on today's events.
I would say that there was a probably only one funny point about today. So I'll put it in now. Although really, if I was a sitcom writer, I should put the good stuff at the end - to keep you reading. Although perhaps you might do me the favour of reading all of this entry - just in tribute to my aunt. So, back to the funny. Today, for the first + only time, I attended a funeral with a liter bottle of Jack Daniels in my handbag. Whenever I opened my bag up, there was the bottle reminding me that, if I so wished, I could be a very discreet and well-dressed lush. The reason for the hard liquor was that it was a present - for my cousin. And it did make her smile. Which is a good thing given it was her mother's funeral. Okay, funny over, back to the half-assed teary philosophising.
The last time I saw L, was in the hospital on Saturday. L was not well. It's weird going into a room when you know that when you come out, you might not see them again. But I think it's a priviledge to be there for the last part of someone's life. Its as powerful as seeing a birth. The room is at the top of the hospital - and seeing out of the window, everyone else scurrying around like ants - it was such a poignant metaphor for, well, life really. We hurry around, scooping up things to feed and nurture ourselves - Big Macs and iPods, coffee and colouring pens - and really it means jack shit. You can't take it with you. It's all over in the blink of an eye. And the only thing you can do is enjoy the ride.
L was a substitute grandmother to me, when R was in Israel and LA. She used to come and stay for the weekend - and she'd always bring two bags. A small one, containing the essentials - change of clothes + toiletries. And a larger one, from which she would unpack food in a simillar manner to Mary Poppins pulling a lamp out of her carpet bag. Humus, schmaltz herring, chollah, pickled gerkins, apples from her apple tree, honey cake, carrot cake, cheese cake. In fact I associate her with food. I remember coming downstairs on a sunday morning to the smell of matzo-meal fritters and cinnamon. She taught me how to make apple pie. In fact L makes the best apple pie I have ever had. Possibly the best apple pie anyone's ever had. Fact. L is probably one of the bluntest people I have ever met, but also one of the kindest. She always saw the funny side of everything - but wasn't afraid to call a spade a spade. She has real balls. Which is why it was strange to see her lying a hospital bed, angry because she's unable to get up unaided and, quite rightly, angry because her independence has been taken away.
I'm not going to say what was wrong with her - it's irrelevant to be honest. And the whole experience feels like deja vu for me. Because I went through the exact same thing with R. But that was a million times worse for me - as she was my own grandmother. The last things R said to me were *I love you* and *your scarf is lovely*. Along with *your hair looks terrible* (at which point she wrote me a BLANK cheque to go and get my hair done - this is what happens when you look like someone's twin when they were young) and also *please rehang the curtains in my hospital cubicle* (yes really.....she was that kind of woman). R was also the kind of woman that sunbathed topless well into her late 60's. Good for her. It would seem exihbitionism runs in the family.
Anyway the service was lovely today, so I hope you won't mind but I just want to post the poem that was read out. As it's beautiful. And I read it at my grandmother's funeral also:
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
So, that's really it for today. Be good to each other, all of you. Life is short. Eat desert first. And most importantly illegitimi non carborundum.
Normal SG service will resume tomorrow. Thank you and goodnight.
Stupidgirl has left the building.