While I was in a daze for most of the last two months because of Ray's death I won't mourn for Mum in the same way. My mother was scornful of the sorrowful, she would say: "Look at them sitting there with long faces." so I will not mourn her. I will try to be as philosophical as those people who tell me "she was old" ( I know that), " she is in a better place" (I know that too) and she wouldn't want me to "sit around with a long face" (true). So I am trying to rejoin life again.
I have just finished writing the 50th Christmas card. I have sent some with a short computer-generated letter, some I have hand-written a short message in, some I have enclosed either the Graveside service sheet from Ray's service or from Mum's as a lot of those once-a-year friends and acquaintances may not yet know about their deaths. It would be easier to just sent a letter but we somehow expect a card, don't we? Of course for those of you on my email list or Facebook page you are way ahead on the information highway. I probably have 40 or so more cards to go. Next year I am cutting down the size of the list,
Yesterday I went to a funeral of a long time congregation member who had been in the legal profession. A lot of the older men had been to college or University togather I learned when talking to them. Some wore expensive but ill-fitting suits which made them look as if they had shrunk a lot since buying them,knowing how stressful that profession is I wondered if they have been worn down by time. Many attenders were well over 80 but seemed happy to see friends they knew and have a bit of a chat. The funeral was a very long, very formal one and the participants were very grateful for the cup of tea or coffee and cakes that followed. I did bring goodies this time, it is time for me to give back having had two funeral teas provided recently.
I went out to lunch today with the women from my craft group. I felt happy going out but somehow it is like there is a glass screen between me and others. I just can't get past that and I can't express real joy at the moment. The best I can do it to try and laugh in the right places and smile and be pleasant. I am still adjusting to life without Ray, life without Mum. Some people can understand that, some people can't. Some say:"your Mum wouldn't want you to be upset". That could be true but it doesn't make it any easier.
Tonight I went to the Lions dinner. It was a mixed night so we had wives there as well. Some of the older men were really nice and expressed their condolences on the death of my mother and their regrets that they couldn't be at the funeral. It was not expected that they be there as this is a very busy time of the year. They were there for Ray's funeral and that is what counts for me, and I told them so. It is nice of them to try to be supportive.
I had a phone call from an old friend who I used to work with at Social Security, when I started he was the "death desk" a position I held later. He said he used to calm the widows down by telling them: "Every time you sign your name on a document you become less Mrs Jack Smith and more MS Norma Smith, so you are not losing your life you are actually getting it back." I must say that is not the thought I've had, nor do I agree with it. But I think he was trying to be comforting. I just wondered how many poor widows left his desk howling their eyes out.
Obviously our Lions Club are struggling with staffing for all that has to be done at this time of the year so I put my name back down on the Christmas Stocking ticket selling roster. I will just do once a week for the next three weeks. It is not a lot and I should survive. The last thing I want to be is a drag on the Club especially as they have all been so kind to me.My partner for ticket selling, Bob, who is in his mid-eighties, said kindly it will be good to "have the old team back together again."
So now I have a list of things I have to do between now and Christmas. It is the busy season, the party season, the end-of-the-year function season. It may also be the season to be jolly but I am not sure I am up to jolly as yet. I am going to help out with one of the once a month meet and greets we hold for the very elderly, just a big morning tea as a Christmas break-up next Tuesday morning. I think I am up to that. Little steps as in any form of recovery, small details, small decisions...nothing drastic.
Maybe by the time all the various committees go back at the end of January, beginning of February I will feel more settled in myself and more willing to take a greater part in church life. But in the meantime life goes on.