blue moon (2)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Zoi Se Mas ©

It’s been an interesting week with all its trials and tribulations.
People, young and old alike loosing something but finding something else in the process.

Politics, social politics that is, more prevalent among European immigrants I think, compassion in all its forms and for whatever reason, life and death and the cost of either has changed the lives of many people this week.

Today (Thursday) I went to the funeral home where they had my aunt’s mother.
It seemed like a long drive to get there but it was only 20 minutes.
The whole trip our family politics was being passed around in the car about what happened and how it’s being handled.
My parents are not happy, as I am not either.
For those of you who read yesterday’s post you know why.

For about the last five minutes of the drive we were silent in the car and I let my mind drift into my thoughts to days gone by.
I remember when I was in my twenties and having to rush to my aunt’s house because her father had a heart attack and they didn’t speak English that well and didn’t know what to do.
I called for the ambulance from my home and drove the block to their house.
When I got in there he was on the ground and all of them were crying and terrified.
There had been numerous occasions since then that had them at the hospital for one parent or the other since that day.
That whole family was loving and close to each other that the recent events were unbelievable.
I know the youngest son is an alcoholic and the oldest is and hopeless gambler their sister is a basket case on anti depressants but I couldn’t believe they could be like this when it came to their parents.
Both sons worked hard but they waste their money.

Rumor has it that they were fighting each other over their parents and at one stage; the youngest son with the power of attorney prohibited the daughter from seeing her father.
They were fighting about how their parents should be kept and treated.
But the fact still remained that both parents were separated in different nursing homes and time was passing by.

Driving up the laneway past the entrance of the funeral home I could see 20 or so people standing outside smoking cigarettes, my uncle one of them.
I hate these things; I hate large family gatherings because ………
Because for some reason people need to talk to me and want my opinion, which I don’t like giving especially on other people’s lives and I knew family politics was stirring things up here.
While my father was parking the car I decided right there that I was going to hold my tongue and let this day pass with us remembering the good things this woman has done.

Walking through the side door we went down the hall to the room where they had her on display.
There were about thirty people there mostly woman their husbands were outside smoking.

We walked up to the coffin with my mother in the lead followed by my father then me.
When they had passed I stepped up and looked at her lying there in a mahogany red coffin framed by wreaths of roses and carnations all around it with the scent filling the room.
Her face looked almost plastic and 20 years younger than I last saw her.
She didn’t look real.
I kissed the icon in the coffin and walked to the youngest brother first.

I have known this family for 35 years.
They are not direct family but through marriage but they became close and especially with me.
I used to go to all the doctors appointments with them to translate until they learned some English or their grand kids were old enough to go with them.
I was considered like a son in their house.
Most of my time out was spent with her youngest son and for years we used to racecars on the main drag.
We went out together Friday nights sometimes.
Bailed his ass out of trouble when he got into it.
I walked up to him now hugged and kissed him.
I could feel how he felt when I hugged him at that moment
I then went to his older brother who was standing next to him and felt the same thing when we hugged.
After I greeted their wives and kids I turned to go to my aunt, I knew what was coming when she saw me coming towards her.
She just walked out of the conversation she was in and the waterworks began.
We sat there for a bit as she cried and laughed.
She asked me if I would be staying and I told her I was there until they closed.
That made her happy.

About twenty minutes later I went to see the group standing outside.
Just as approached the doors I saw something and had to stop.
Walking outside I started handing out flyers for the Funeral home to all the smokers and told them that they are offering free measurements after the viewing.
Then I told them that some of their wives were still young enough to mess with after they croaked.
This prompted one of my uncles to light up two cigarettes at once to speed up the process.

Mike showed up with his parents just about then and they went in to pay their respects to the family.
He came out ten minutes later and we stood there at one side alone talking things amongst ourselves.
That’s when my uncle came over and said whatever we were planning he was in and not to worry about his age, he could still rock and roll.
I bet he could to.
I said we weren’t planning anything.
He said we looked like a couple of hoods all decked out in black and black leather.
He wanted to know if he could have my leather vest.
HA HA HA no.
Mike and I went to the cafeteria for some coffee right after and found the place empty.
We sat there for a bit rehashing the past when P the oldest son came in.
He grabbed a coffee and sat with us.

He sat there reliving the last six months to us like he needed for us to understand what it was like with both of his parents being incapacitated at the same time.
He sat there crying as he told us.
His brother saw us from outside and came to sit with us.
Then both together laid out a nightmare for us to see.
I will say this.
The picture they painted was scary.
The frustration of caring for parents and their families at the same time then trying to appease each other’s requests specifically their sister’s and their nieces over a long period of time has taken its toll on them.
Their mother has been sick for years but the last six months was the beginning of the end and wanting to keep her with them pitted the siblings into battles out of love for their mother.
We sat there talking then all of a sudden there were 10 people sitting around Mike and I.
It stayed like that for half an hour until my aunt walked in and sat with me, the rest left to give us some privacy.
We talked about when we first met all those years ago and all that has passed by over the years.
We talked about her mother and father.
Laughed a little, then taking me by the arm we went back to the room but just outside my mother came up with a woman and asked if I remembered her.
I said sorry I didn’t.
The lady then told me she changed my diapers once.
I said I didn’t remember her but if her tits had been the same size as they were now I can see why.
My aunt started to laugh but my mother almost lost a denture.
We went back into the room until they came to tell us to leave but as we were leaving my aunt made me promise her that I would come by the house after the funeral the next day.

On the drive home my parents were discussing the way she looked and all the flowers.
My father commented on her face and how nice she looked.
Then he wondered why the only open half the coffin.
I told him it was because she didn’t have shoes on, they don’t bury people with their shoes on.
He said he wanted his shoes on.
I said ok but he would look funny with shoes on and no pants.
He looked at me as I drove and asked why he wouldn’t be wearing pants.
Now my mother is in the back seat laughing.
I told him because they only dress what they show.
He said he wanted an open coffin all dressed with shoes on and he wanted to be buried in them.
My mother told him that his shoes should have been buried years ago.
You should have seen his face when I told him they plug up his butt and sow up his dick so he won’t leak embalming fluids…………


It was 9 am when I got up today.
My mother had to go for a physical and then come back to get me for the funeral.
The service was being held at the Greek church and then off to the cemetery.
When we arrived I hooked up with the young son and asked him about his father and if they told him about his wife.
He said they all gathered the previous day and done it as a family.
That was good, they brought him to the funeral home after everyone had left and let him spend time with her.
I know this is not enough but it’s something for him I guess.
The service was about an hour long and the priest did a great job.
After we all went by the coffin once more they took it to the Hearst for its last stop and her resting place.
It was cold and it started to rain, almost appropriate for this day.
The long line of cars took 30 minutes to get to the cemetery.
My mother stayed in the car because it was coming down a little harder than it was when we first started out.
We had gathered at the gravesite when the Hearst pulled up to it.
The back swung open and the coffin was being pulled out when there was a surge from the crowd and hands started reaching out grabbing at the handles by sons, granddaughters, grandsons claiming one of their own, someone that was always there with a smile or a kind word.
14 members ranging from 40 to 14 a monument to her life, held her high as they marched to her final bed.
The rain came down washing the tears from their faces and ours as she was placed above the grave.
I stood there next to my uncles as the cold rain washed over us, my aunt sat next to me under an umbrella.
Half way through my aunt’s voice screamed through the crowd “Ma where are you Going Ma”.
My cousin who was raised by her grandmother cried the whole time.
When the priest was done we all stepped forward and took the wreaths apart and put flowers on the coffin before it was lowered.

After we all went back to the church where there was something set up for everyone to nibble on and a case of brandy to drink.
The crowd was festive for the most part but there was a couple of small spats, nothing monumental.
After a couple of hours there we went home.
Tonight I keep my promise and I go see my aunt at her house.
That I will keep to myself.

Family politics sucks.
I am not pleased with the way the youngest son handled it but I wasn’t in his shoes and he had all of it thrust upon him and to deal with his life as well.
He made decisions he thought were right but turned wrong.
I think his father should have been closer to his wife instead of 5 miles apart.
He took it upon himself to not bring his father because he was worried that he might have something bad come over him.
I am not pleased with my aunt who I love so much because she helped make things difficult by insisting on the impossible.
The love for their mother made then enemies instead of bringing them closer and in the end, the room was divided by a coffin.
I could tell you a couple of things right now that I learned that would make you angry but what good would it do?
An honorable woman graced this Earth and has move on to the peace she deserves.

In the end, we all get judged by the one who knows the truth; ourselves.

On the drive back to the house my mother says to me, “You have to come to these funerals because if you don’t. no one will come to ours”
Personally I hope they out live those that would come to their funeral.

The title is what they say at funerals.
It means “life to us”.

Have a nice weekend



Peter said...

I'm pleased to hear that this is now over Walker, and that you learned that the mistakes made were, at least in part, made for the right reasons.

patti_cake said...

Good post Walker. I do feel for her family even though I was angry from the earlier post. It's true, until you walk a mile in another persons shoes of clay you do not know what they go through. You are such a good man.

hellbunny said...

Sometimes it seems we judge before knowing the full story.Personally i dont even want a funeral.