I’ve just watched the funeral service of a dear friend’s father on Zoom. He was such a phenomenal, interesting man. When I met Shereen in 1997, I came to meet her family and was struck by how her Dad always referred to her mother, Pat – even though they were divorced for years by the time I met them – as his wife.
Darrall had managed to blend his life with Judy, his current wife, and their kids, with Pat and hers, and beyond. I was reminded of Shereen’s additional half-sister at the funeral. Her Dad did not marry that sister’s mother but had had a long-term relationship with her, somewhere in between and or during his two marriages. It was never clear to me, and nor was it important.
He would proudly refer to his “wives” and both women were always together at the family occasions and gatherings that I was at. If I had not known the history, I would have thought that these ‘wives’ were sisters. They were (Pat transitioned in 2015) similar in some respects.
No family is one-dimensional. Zero judgement.
Another fact I discovered at the service was that Darrall took on the two sons of the mother of his daughter as his own. Wow. He had brought everyone together as one big, ‘happy’ family. No family is one-dimensional. Zero judgement.
Everyone who spoke was honest about who Darrall was. I enjoyed that. A patriarch, complicated, smart, entrepreneurial beyond his era, a pioneer, flawed, but above all loving, caring, and honest. The woman who gave the vote of thanks said, “Darrall was full of crap”. Give that woman a Bells, please. Not just for her candor, but for her middle finger to institutionalised convention and ‘respect for the dead’.
And since it was a Christian service, I’m inspired to adlib from the Bible: “Whoever is without sin can throw the first stone”.
Darrall lived his truth. As Frank Sinatra said, “I did it my way”; this song played over a touching photo montage at the service. What more can we expect from someone? And since it was a Christian service, I’m inspired to adlib from the Bible: “Whoever is without sin can throw the first stone”.
I’m really happy I attended the service; I almost didn’t make it. There was no power this morning. We’re in Stage 4 load shedding and since it’s been dull and dreary over the past couple of days and the blackouts occur three times a day, our solar backup did not kick in automatically as it usually does. But the synchronicity of the Universe is absolute, and I was able to connect on my phone – albeit with very low battery – until power was restored.
It was very strange to be in a Christian service after an extended period, I honestly cannot pinpoint how long it’s been. I found myself repeating some of the prayers, on automation. The rote praying that I became accustomed to is the antithesis of presence. I was reminded why I don’t miss church.
I now have a very different concept of death and was actually inspired.
The other important element of this service is that it got me thinking: what do I want people to say about me when I transition? It may sound morbid to some as death has been propositioned as final and negative. I now have a very different concept of death and was actually inspired.
Here’s my truth. My only reservation around death is centred around my kids. Everyone else will move on just fine. The world will continue to orbit. The sun will rise in the East.
I do not want my children to go through what my younger siblings and I experienced. Let them have other challenges, different experiences, whatever they require to fulfill their life’s purpose and journey. Just not that one.
Of course, it’s selfish. I am not in control here. But it’s a mother’s humble wish to be with her children through to adulthood.
As the fifth-floor edges closer, I’m less concerned with achievement over inner peace. I’m dedicating the pursuit of stillness of body, mind, and soul to the next decades of my human experience. Anyone or anything that disturbs this equilibrium either has to go or has to transform with me.
It’s a never-ending evolution. I’m on a journey. Lots and lots of repair work.
What do I want others to say about me when my earthly journey is complete? She was Love. She loved.