Posted by Murrisk on August 18, 2001 at 07:28:53:
On this night in a land far away in a time long past a young fellow sat by a bedside and considered, with trepidation, the morrow that would see him with only one parent. The inevitable outcome had been known to the family for months but everyone seemed to know. Still in the future - the great family upset; the undertaker and the laying out of the corpse; the slow cortege bearing the remains of the man who had been born and died in the house; the hours in attendance by the coffin in the church; the constant stream of people coming to express their condolences; the 'deorum', the Players cigarettes, the tea and sweet cake offered to sympathisers; the funeral mass with the celebrants all in black; the slow funeral through the town with shops closed as a 'mark of respect'; down Chapel Street and Linenhall Street, up Main Street, Ellison Street and into the cemetery; a new grave in the new addition which had but recently been added (the deceased had played in this field as a boy); the coffin lowered into the grave in time with the burial service; the rain ('happy the corpse the rain falls on' goes the old saying);the layer of rushes on the coffin lid to deaden the sound of the falling earth; the handfulls of earth dropped on the coffin by the principal mourners; the grave being covered in; the sad ride home and sad frustation in the aftermath - what to do and nowhere to go. The next several months were a time of social isolation. A black armband was worn at all times and all pictures, dances and social outings were shunned. At Christmas a social life was resumed some two months or six months ahead of the social norm, depending on your preference. However, before this would happen we would have to leave our old home and establish a new one in the neighbourhood. And the mother who survived to die unexpectedly at 95 years of age while the young fellow, now a man, laboured at some altitude on a mountainside in the antipodes....in a land too far away for a swift return for a funeral... 'and here was I on Broadway....when they carried out her coffin...'. But, on a night such as this in a land far away in a time long past, with all the family close, the only concern was the welfare of a beloved parent approaching life's exit.
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