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Of Sacred Space And Dirty Underwear.

I'm really sleepy, I think I'm having a much needed crash. It's not that Christmas was a big deal this year but it's a deal nonetheless.

And I think hobbling round on one foot since spraining one of the pair on Monday is taking its toll. Having said that, it's doing quite well. I've not got it strapped up today, nor am I using crutches. I'm just keeping off it and limping when I can't.

Also, Wednesday was infusion day at the hospital and instead of being out by noon, which is roughly when they expect you to be done, I was there until just before five. They had trouble finding a vein, then they had trouble finding a doctor who was willing to look for one. So at about 11:30AM one of the gastro doctors that I know came down and found a vein within moments and things finally got started.

Thursday was a lovely day here, friend over to celebrate the birthday of 10B and later to do a Christmas gift exchange. Yesterday was a very quiet Christmas with 10B and his Mum-In-Law.

We both got really glum last night. For me it was missing Mum and Dad and the general post-Chrissy blues.

I failed to make it to church again, but that was an unrealistic thought. This year I was quite well organised for the holiday, enough that even spraining my foot at the last moment really didn't mess things up. I also failed to give myself time to think about family and absent loved ones, which is why it felled me in the evening.

I do so miss Mum and Dad. And my siblings (in some ways) and my childhood. And I do bloody wish my family could get things sorted about having Mum and Dad's ashes interred somewhere other than in Eldest Brother's laundry on one of the Ikea storage shelves. I want somewhere where I can go and sit occasionally. It's not that I can't sit in his laundry, in fact I have often sat in his laundry when I visit - that's where the downstairs toilet is - but it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi.

My family's protestantism really does go too far sometimes, with it's total rejection of sacred space and ritual. Object really are just objects and are never to be infused with anything. I occasionally suspect that if left to my own devices long enough I'd wind up converting to Roman Catholicism, and probably going to the local RC church that does the full Latin mass just because I long for external signs of meaning that come with the trappings of Catholic space. And I love the way they can worship without really having to pay attention to each other and make nice all the fucking time.

Or it could just be that my family are shit at getting things organised. In my hankering for meaning and connection this summer, I pondered a visit to my grandparents grave, which isn't too far away, but Grandpa's name still isn't on the headstone and he died in 1974. I discovered this oversight about 15 years ago. I mentioned it to Dad at the time, he gave me his pretend-wise smile and said in his play-superior tone that we were not a family that worried about such temporal matters. And then he muttered something about how he'd mention it to one of my uncles who could probably sort it out, but it certainly hadn't happenned last time I looked.

Maybe I should do it.

And let's face it, my grandparents were buried rather than cremated because they believed in bodily resurrection on Judgement Day, which rather suggests that the rejection of all things temporal and worldy is a modern affectation and really just an excuse for being slack. Not to mention a recipe for a serious case of the glums on Christmas Day because if you want to go and commune with absent loved ones you have to stand at a grave with an incomplete list of occupants or sit on the toilet in your eldest brother's laundry.


In other news, Pachelbel Cat is eating well and generally doing a very good impression of a geriatric but lively enough cat. Way too thin, but very much herself nonetheless.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 26th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
My husband's grandfather's ashes have been interred in Eltham, near Mont Salvat.

I know that ashes can be interred in Springvale, at the Necropolis. It is right near the Jewish cemetery & we pass it every time we pay our respects.

It does look like you will have to do the headstone, for lack of anyone better...
Dec. 26th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC)
Oh yes, the ashes aren't in the laundry because we don't know where else you put them...But deciding where they go will be a 'family discussion' situation of the sort that will no doubt be the topic of many, many blog entries if it ever actually happens. And probably many sessions with my shrink as well.

Come to think of it, maybe I'll just stick with the laundry.

Dec. 26th, 2009 06:23 am (UTC)
I'm too knackered to make any sense but I really appreciate your post & can relate to a lot of the aspects of family and church you're talking about.

And I missed the part where you sprained your ankle, jeez, I'm sorry to hear that.

You've had more than a full week. Hope you have a nice crash.
Dec. 26th, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
Foot, technically (that area on the outside near the little toe - don't ask me why my foot decided to twist right there, but twist it did). Yeah it's a bugger but at least I didn't break anything.

I figured you'd be lost in a few memories too. Cheers.
Dec. 26th, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
Thinking of you.
Dec. 26th, 2009 08:00 am (UTC)
I understand very much the issues around not having a proper space to commune with your dead. Since my grandmother, foster mother and aunt are all buried in England, I have no access to their graves. A little while ago, I decided to create 'shrines' (for want of a better word) for them - just a photo and an item of significance or two - in my foster mother's case I bought a toy citroen from Oxfam because she used to drive one. It's not that I think their spirits are in the shrines any more than I think they're in their graves, but it serves to focus me and have something to look at when I talk to them. Sometimes I put flowers near them - as I would a grave. I don't think anyone else would see these items as anything other than usual household decoration, but they have a lot of significance to me.
Dec. 26th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
Yes, you really will have to have your granddad's name put on the stone. It just seems like you're the one who should at this point.

I was glad we had a place to put Manolo's mom's ashes as didn't have to have any family discussions. It's hard enough dealing with the memories much less the aftermath. Good luck with that.

It makes me happy that Pachelbel Cat is doing so well.
Dec. 26th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
I rather sympathise with the issue of no where to visit one's dead. My grandma's ashes are in a cupboard at my parents, um actually next to me right now, "Hi Nan!" Mum claimed them 'cause Gramps wanted nothing to do with them, just wanted to walk away. I have always thought that odd, they certainly loved each other. Anyway, we plan a double ash scattering ceremony when we eventually have his too.
Dec. 27th, 2009 06:41 am (UTC)
I was raised Catholic, and although I no longer share those beliefs, I miss the church services and all the rituals and external gestures of faith. The candles, incense, the order of songs and prayers. It felt sacred.

Both my grandparents' ashes are in a veteran's cemetery in New Mexico. I was too sick to make their funerals and I've never visited, so it feels odd. I'm thinking about making little shrines for them where I can light candles and burn incense and just be with my memories.

That's such good news about Pachelbel cat.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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