Death in the Family…… walk thoughts

Perhaps an odd thing to be thinking about walking the dog, although bearing in mind the date, maybe not.

My brother-in-law died seven years ago today. He was 54.
It was a shock for everyone, and for me, the catalyst for my trip to NZ to see Bro.
Life is short, and we never know what’s around the corner, yet we still keep putting things off until well, really, it can be too late.

My paternal grandfather died in February 1974. It was unexpected, especially as my mother’s father had been so poorly. It was the first time I saw my Dad cry, slumped on the bed with my Mum’s arms around him.  I didn’t know what to do so left them alone.
I remember the local electoral candidates doing the rounds and one got an absolute earful from my Dad as he was trying to arrange a funeral and get to grips with his loss.
I’ll give the guy his due, he dropped his cheesy ‘vote for me’ attitude and became a decent human being in the blink of an eye.

Whilst visiting Mum on Friday, my sister took a phone call. Her father-in-law has been in hospital for several weeks, and had sadly passed away. I didn’t know him that well, and can only really remember how he let me down in July 1977 by retracting his offer of his Daimler as my wedding car the night before the wedding. My BIL stayed up all night spraying his own vehicle white for the day, and he acted as my chauffeur. Ha, I recall he took a wrong turn and we ended up going round the Co-Op car park in all my finery, waving at the onlookers like some kind of under training Queen.
He made me feel like one actually.

It has been a bit of a joke over the years how family come out of the woodwork at funerals, generating false platitudes of caring for the departed when they could never be bothered to visit whilst they were alive.
I have known people say not to buy flowers when they pass as they would rather have them when they are alive to see them. We tend to give flowers to certain people a lot, and for no reason either.

Losing a family member or close friend is painful, yet we all handle our grief differently.
Hubby and I have an understanding that when our turn comes, we want no pomp and ceremony. He wants to be dressed in joggers, woolly jumper, body warmer, benny hat and gloves and cremated (black bin bag preferred). No church service, just a private farewell and off he’ll go. For me, I want singing (not All Things Bright and Beautiful!!) by Il Divo, and to be dressed similarly to Hubby but wearing my Dad’s cardy, with the pockets full of dog biscuits ready for my encounters at Rainbow Bridge.
Have you ever thought how sometimes the death of a beloved pet affects us harder and deeper than that of a relative?
I guess because they have been in our lives 24/7 whereas in our adult lives, relatives are in a way ‘part time’.

They (whoever ‘they’ are, have you ever thought about that?) say that Time is a great healer. I can go along with that to a degree, but that void left is never filled, never fully healed over, and Time just allows us to ‘accept’ and carry on.
Something will trigger a memory or circumstance and the wound is refreshed, though perhaps not quite as deeply or take us as long to recover. I guess that’s what memories are, reminders of what was, good or bad, compared to how things are now.

A death in the family is always hard for those left behind, they who have to sort things out, make arrangements and smooth over any ruffles, ignoring family politics.
My thoughts are of course with the family, which include my nieces and their children, at the loss of a father, grandparent, great grandparent and since 2013, a great great grandparent.  RIP.


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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9 Responses to Death in the Family…… walk thoughts

  1. Death takes more than just a life !

  2. scifihammy says:

    Very well written piece on death and how it affects us all, for many years. It is the oddest thing that can trigger a memory.
    And I like your Hubby’s and your funeral requirements, particularly the pocket of your Dad’s cardy full of dog biccies. 🙂

  3. DM says:

    I experienced grief @ the loss of our little beagle Oscar just as you said, and I know it was because he was such an active part of our life. Until then, I have had several different pets and none of them hit me like Oscar’s passing. My dad has said he wants to get buried in his bibs (that is his normal look) Mom finally said OK a few years ago..after dad and some of us kids reminded her, he would not have looked “normal” being dressed din a suit coat. We talk about this topic sometimes around here as well…for the longest time, I thought I wanted Van Halen’s song “JUMP” played @ my funeral just because I liked the beat. Funerals don’t have to be all sad and gloomy…I think they should also incorporate an element of celebration..especially if the deceased was a fun person to be around in life.

    • I always joked I wanted the hymns Onward Christian Soldiers and Fight the Good Fight, but as the music I knew has been replaced, I wouldn’t know if I was coming or going! Now Il Divo, yea, definitely know where I’m coming from. Wonder if I can sing along in the afterlife?

  4. One of my favorite aunts died during the 90s. I lost a beloved pet the same year and mourned the pet much more deeply than my aunt. I had not seen my aunt in a few years. I lived in a different state and she had dementia and didn’t know who anyone was. I only remember the young woman who was an active part of my childhood and maybe that’s good.

    • I am glad you can remember the active young woman. I have Aunts and Uncles I haven’t seen or heard from for years and although I was a little sad at not being able to represent the family when my aunt died last month, I would not have known anyone anyway.

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