the day was coming to an end....
almost everybody was gone, and the people who were left, were cleaning up, and washing the dishes. for the first time in that dreadful week, i was left alone, and i sat down with a sigh. it was the end of a long and emotionally draining day, and i relished a few minutes of quiet.
she came up to me. quietly. shyly. she was about 5 years old. very unsure of the correct protocol, yet aware that some polite thanks were socially expected, she stood before me. in a tiny voice, she said: um... aunty jacki, um... ah, um... thank you that your husband died...
her mother had taught her that it was polite to thank the hostess for the occasion, and to her, a funeral was just another occasion.
henk's death last week, and his funeral on saturday, brought back that, and many other memories.
what you know to expect after a death of a loved one, are the tears, the sadness, the condolences, the flowers, the support. but what i found, and did not expect, was so much laughter too! yet it makes sense. many people gather together to celebrate his life, and to say goodbye. and everyone has their own story, their own fond memory. and the need to share.
also unexpected, was the stress level. at least in my case. as ronnie's death was so sudden and unexpected and dramatic, we were all in shock. and the adrenalin levels were very high. as a result came hightened senses. and i heard everybody and remembered everything. so many little details. what was said, what happened, and what everything smelled of. that day, and lots of days afterward, i experienced in high definition, and the details are burned in my memory forever. and strangely enough, although it was a very sad time, as with henk's funeral, it was also happy and funny and special. a celebration of his life.
within hours of ronnie's accident, people started offering (almost insisting) calming tablets. and i refused. i was fine (under the circumstances). and i wanted to be present. i wanted to feel. and i have not regretted it, as it means that i have all these bittersweet memories, that sometimes come out and remind me of that time. (i did take sleeping tablets every night for almost a year after, and i had therapy once a week for a year, together with anti-depressants. i have nothing against drugs. i just didn't want to be fogged)
although the memories of that time are sad and difficult, it is good to revisit them every so often. it is part of the healing process. in time the pain begins to fade, and in it's place are the fond, happy memories.
jacki janse van rensburg - SCRAPPINTIMES scrapbook shop, benoni, gauteng, south africa