Friday, December 2, 2016

Too many funerals...

Today was a day dominated by funerals.

We nurses are a superstitious lot. We believe the full moon brings the crazies into the Emergency Dept, if you say the word quiet it instantly gets busy and deaths come in threes. There were 3 funerals today and I went to two of them.

The first was a really good funeral.
  I have been to enough funerals to know what constitutes a good or mediocre funeral.
It was a nice tribute to the man who had lived a full life but succumbed to illness at 67. His family and friends regaled us with tales of his sporting prowess, work ethic and love of family. There were tears and laughs in the overflowing Chapel. Memories were shared and it was a nice send off.

The second funeral could not have been more different.
A former colleague of Chris' from when they worked in  the Transit Patrol Service, had only about 25 show up to pay their respects and half of them were his direct family. Apparently he had become estranged from his wife and 2 children and there was an uncomfortable allusion to the method of death, probable suicide. The Celebrant rattled off some facts about his life with little emotion. There was no tribute from family or friends, there was no photo montage and the whole thing was over in 20 minutes. We waved him off to the Essendon theme song. It was a sad affair for all the wrong reasons. I got the feeling that his life had a downward spiral where he died lonely and alone at 57 in Moe, and the funeral was a duty that had to be performed. The four former Transit Patrol Officers were a bit suprised that so few had made the trip to Dandenong for the service. Just shows that a strong social media group does not always equate to a strong physically supportive group.

I was also struck by a thought that we could have been attending my Brother-in-laws funeral today instead. His close call of death recently is a whole 'nother story which luckily had a different outcome. I'll tell you about that in another post.

The 90 minute journey home was a good opportunity for Chris and I to talk about plans. At first Chris said I could do whatever I wanted because he wouldn't care but I pressed him for a few details. I have some ideas of songs and photos and anecdotes. Some of the conversation was light hearted and some serious but the pervading thought was hopefully a few more will gather to remember our passing. He felt badly for his friend and the shabby funeral we had witnessed.

And I'm sure the third funeral, which I just couldn't make, would have been a packed affair too. He had been a true gentleman, a local who was involved in community and surrounded by his family to the end.

All in all a reflective day which has been a reminder to live a full life.

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