So I Went to a Funeral Yesterday…

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Spring is blooming everywhere!

Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day. Doug came home from his shift in the morning, we had our Saturday brunch, got ready and dressed for a friend’s mother’s funeral across town, came back to the east end to the store and back home for just an hour, then went up north to my parents place for dinner.

Honestly – I wanted to just stay home yesterday but everything turned out nicely. Even the funeral.

I mean, who likes going to funerals? We do, though, right? We want to support our grieving friends. I believe it is even more so for ourselves than our friends.

The person who passed away – I didn’t even know. I might have met her once when I attended her late husband’s funeral a few years ago – also their to support my friend. I knew about her though. My friend has always had a way with words which summed up the description of both his parents very specifically.

Anyway – her funeral, like her husband, was more of a memorial service. No casket. Some flowers and a lovely photo but a very minimal display. What the memorial service was mostly about were family members who stood up and gave a heartfelt and memorable eulogy in celebration of the person’s life.

As some one who had no real connections to the deceased, I found myself extremely grateful to have witnessed such a personal event. After all, other than my friend, I was nothing to the rest of the family. My being there would not have made a difference.

Yet being there, I felt it was more a privilege. I was able to extend the memory of this remarkable woman further – to be another anchor of her existence on our earth while she was still here.

And I think this helped her children and grandchildren seek closure. Not directly from me per say, but from all the attentive and listening ears whom were present at the memorial service.

When we came home, I told Doug, my husband, this is what I want. I don’t want a dreary funeral when I am gone. I don’t even care to have it at a funeral home. Rent out a generous space at a pub (one of the ones we frequent), invite all our family and friends, have some speeches and then get pissed drunk while celebrating my life!

That is all I want. My soul would then rest in peace.

Scrubbing our Space and the Odd Found Treasure

As mentioned, we’ve been spending a few hours every Saturday to sort, organize, clean and chuck. Scrubbing our space, so to speak.

It’s not the most exciting thing but it’s a necessary evil.

The nice thing is, we are finding some ‘lost’ and ‘forgotten’ items we need and have been looking for. But happily, we’re recycling or donating 97% of everything we are going through.

I asked to call it quits today after about 3.5 hours. I had enough. And so, my husband and I cleaned up, got changed and practiced some yoga together. Then we poured ourselves our choice of beverage – beer for him, sparkling cava for me – and just sat in our living room to unwind.

During this ritual, I unearthed some bags and boxes of things we had tossed aside many years ago when Chaeli was young and therefore had no energy to deal with whatever mess we piled up in our storage space (out of sight, out of mind, of course), I found a single CD which is of great importance to us. It was, after all, the one audio short story called Dave and the Bike by Stuart McClean.

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Stuart Mclean: April 19, 1948 – February 15, 2017

We first heard this story during one of two of his live concerts we were fortunate to experience – it was part of his annual cross-country tour before Christmas. And it was starting to become our tradition. Not every year, maybe, but we had hoped every 2-3 years. The third time we bought tickets – with best friends – never happened. It was back in 2015. We were notified the tour was cancelled due to McClean’s health problems. We soon learned he was battling skin cancer. Earlier this year, he lost this battle. May he rest in peace.

While my husband worked on his model train village (currently putting together one of the buildings his future train will pass by), I popped the found CD and pressed play. As soon as Stuart’s voice was heard, my husband laughed out loud and said, “Right on! Oh – I’m going to cry…”

I know I’m so very late in writing about our beloved, Canadian author, yet I do need to document how much impact he has had on our lives. He welcomed us into what I can only described as a fictional living room – one of which felt so real to many of his readers. The Vinyl Cafe was home to Dave, Morley, Mary Turlington, Kenny Wong (from the Kenny Wong’s Scottish Meat Pies store) and so many more. A fictional family with fictional friends in a fictional neighborhood. But of a community that could be real – to many of us, not just us Canadians.

And so we sat there, laughing our arses off while not just taking in this short crazy story we’ve heard so many times in our home and during our many road trips, but also remembering the good times we’ve had brought on by McLean’s stories, shows, books, podcasts and so on.

Thank you, Stuart. You gave us so much.

You will be missed.