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Wednesday, 27 August - link

Like Mourning

Someone dies and shock sets in. No more future memories to be made with that person, excepting the human tendency to immediately revisit all recent occasions with the deceased. And so we begin writing them into our lives as history, which is creative retelling. This tells us about ourselves, which has frustratingly little to do with the departed person and more about our selective taste and inclination.

So I remember a few phone calls with Jane's Mom, as she spoke some basic Japanese to me. I always figured it was her preference, her home tongue. And it was good practice for me. But not the fastest way for us to speak. An Aunt? Or Anne? pointed out the other day - "Oh, she always loved teasing you about your Japanese." She would test me some, with a phrase or a few words, and see if I could handle it. It's not the way I remembered it; now I see this sweet woman pulling my leg just a little, and my memories are brightened by laughter some.

This week there's actually little time for these kinds of stories; the family must prepare to meet the public and address the state. This mother left some affairs to be managed; this is a full time job that helps delay grieving. There's some helpful paperwork she left behind, and some she didn't. I'm not sure whether fully-described intentions would be easier to handle; interpreting funereal desires of the dearly departed can lead to disagreements amongst the friends and family. Fortunately there's not much of that strife evident in this family. So her daughters drive here and there, filling out applications, making lists, consulting lawyers and bureaucrats.

There is loads of details, mostly addressing the business of relations, assets and bills. I've never been to a mortuary, read through a will, used a coma as an excuse for a plane ticket refund, or held a cooling hand. All this in the last two days! This introduction to the life of the gone is sudden and deep. The sadness only leaks in; most of the time I'm tired, because of what is left to be done. Like mourning.

Posted on 27 August 2003 : 17:11 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.