Tuesday’s Topic – Finding Fair

February 27th, 2009 by Karen

Last Thursday, I received a call from my mother to tell me that my Great Great Aunt Louise had passed away. Sure, she was nearly 98 and yes she had been ill and confused for several years, but despite this, I cried.

I’m fairly certain that I was the only one.

Not because my family is cruel or because they conciously wished it would all be over. Just simply because “she had lived a long fulfilling life”. At what point do we cross over from death meaning mourning and death meaning absence of grief? How in the world is that fair?

Is is fair that she had to spend her final years locked in her own confusion about who came and went, who was really alive and who she believed still lived? Is it fair that only about 40 people came to the funeral? Is it fair that the discussion at her reception focused more on when the estate would be dispersed than her long well traveled life? Is it fair that the last of a generation should simply slip away with barely a mention?

Everyone went through the motions of what was expected…solemnly fulfilling their filial duties until it was appropriate to be finished. There was no fault to be found in the service itself. The flowers were impeccable, everyone appropriately dressed, the family mortician did a lovely job as he always does. But it was all flat. There was no sorrow.

The only person I spoke with that seemed at all moved was my cousin’s daughter who is only seven. In all the swirl of black clothing and Portland rain, she quietly went about her little way and ended the reception at my side. She was the only person younger than I and both of us the youngest there by a long shot. We sat on the couch and she showed me her DS and we ate little cookies together for a bit and then she asked if I wanted to see her room since the reception was at my cousin’s house. I said sure and she led me up the stairs. She showed me the sticker collection on her door (which I’m sure just kills my cousin who is an incredible interior designer), her collection of ponies and frilly dresses, and her books. She pointed out all the fun bric-a-brac that make up the world of a child then she turned to me in all childhood seriousness and said simply “You know, it’s too bad that Aunt Louise had to go to heaven. She was a nice lady.”

It was all I could do to choke out “Yes honey, she was.”

That small precious moment made up for all the unfairness of the day that had assaulted my heart.

No one else could see past the paperwork, the cost and the hassle of the end of a life, but a small child with barely an understanding of what it means to live did.

Posted in Family, Life, Tuesday's Topic | 2 Comments

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  1. Judi Moore said,
    on March 1st, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Sometimes I think I fear slipping away unmourned more than I fear slipping away.

  2. Karen said,
    on March 2nd, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I think that is what had bothered me the most about the whole day…it was just emotionally flat.

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