Author Topic: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...  (Read 1992 times)

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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2011, 10:38:59 PM »
People,

Just checking in on my thread. In fact I just re-read the whole thing, and I re-appreciate all your posts. As I said, I'm archiving this as a kind of diary of this time, and I value it.

I don't feel the need to describe the weirdness of Christmas, or the meaningless of the New Year... that's all par for the course, isn't it?

But life goes on and now I'm back at work. It's been difficult; when my patients cry, I feel like crying too. But I don't, because I've got a job to do, and they're depending on me.

So I come home and listen to John Lennon.

He wrote three songs about his mother.

From his first solo album, the childish My Mummy's Dead, to the tune of Three Blind Mice. 46 seconds of shock:



From the same album, Mother, a howl of rage at abandonment:



From the Beatles White Album, a song of love:


Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2011, 11:17:15 PM »
So, thinking about it, I'm going to stop diarizing now. I wanted some support from you guys, and I got it, and I'm grateful. But I'll be OK from here on in.

Several of you have said that my father's letter to my mother caused tears. I'm sorry about that, but I also find it somehow comforting, that his words of love from seven decades ago can make connections right here. Can't really explain that.

Thanks again,

Gnu.

Offline Jim

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #60 on: January 12, 2011, 11:57:33 PM »
Good, Gnu.  I am glad that it is time to move on from this.  A note: the tears were good.  The letter was the sort that spoke very well about both of your parents, very genuine, the sort that "you can't make this up."  No need to apologize.  cheers.
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Offline Vivisectus

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #61 on: January 13, 2011, 01:46:21 AM »
Ay! To lose a mother... what words that I could utter could now possibly signify? I am sorry for your loss. I can do nothing, but I wish I could.
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #62 on: August 23, 2012, 08:15:55 PM »
Diary Update.

Tomorrow my brother and I are going to scatter my parents' ashes in a special location.

It seems like an irrational thing to do. After all, they're just ashes, we could just throw them in the trash. But for some reason, that would feel plain wrong.

So my brother and I are going to climb this ridge in Shropshire; at a certain point in this wheatfield, we'll be able to look down eastwards and see the house where we grew up, a few hundred yards away; my parents lived there for thirty years, and they were happy there.

And by turning round and looking westwards, we'll also be able to see all of Shropshire spread out before us, and the mountains of Wales in the distance. It's a glorious view, believe me.

So that's the place for the ashes.

When we get there, I'm going to walk around the field slowly, pouring the ashes of my parents into the wheat as I go, while my brother is going to read aloud some verses from the Bible.

Which I'm totally cool with; in fact, it was my idea. I knew that he would like to say something christian on an occasion like this; but he also wouldn't want to push that on me, because he's sensitive about my feelings. So I suggested it to him first.

Also, I really have no words myself; I wouldn't know what to say. So Ecclesiastes will have to do.

4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Offline Chronos

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #63 on: August 23, 2012, 08:34:47 PM »
Diary Update.

Tomorrow my brother and I are going to scatter my parents' ashes in a special location.

It seems like an irrational thing to do. After all, they're just ashes, we could just throw them in the trash. But for some reason, that would feel plain wrong.

It doesn't seem irrational to me. It's a final act. Reading bible passages is not irrational, either. It can be like ready any other poetry. It has meaning to you, and that's all that matters.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Traveler

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #64 on: August 23, 2012, 08:36:10 PM »
That's beautiful, Gnu. Spreading ashes, just like other rituals, are for the living. It sounds like a lovely way to say goodbye, and to share that with your brother.

For what its worth, when my dad died my mom gave some of his ashes to me and my brother to do with whatever felt right for us. I took a trip to the Grand Canyon (which my dad had visited on multiple occasions and loved) and scattered his ashes at sunset. It was a very powerful experience, and I'm glad I did it.

Hugs and I hope it goes well for you all.  :)
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Offline Quesi

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #65 on: August 23, 2012, 09:49:16 PM »
It is not irrational.  Throughout all time, we human beings have mourned the death of our parents.  It is inconceivably painful.  But it is part of the human experience. 

And throughout all of time, we have created rituals because on many levels, we need rituals. 

As Traveler said, these rituals are for the living.  Scatter these ashes with your brother.  Cry.  Tell stories.  Drink wine or beer or whiskey or whatever you both prefer.  Look at your childhood house, the house that they shared for 30 years, and let the images of your childhood come to you, in little snapshots of moments, or like streaming videos.  Argue with your brother about the details of certain events that you remember differently.  And imagine the sounds and smells and emotions of your family together. 

Honor the memory of your parents, and all that they contributed to making you the person you are. 

I'll think of you tomorrow.   

Offline Garja

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #66 on: August 23, 2012, 11:00:40 PM »
I agree with those above.  Its not irrational at all to feel a bond even to something so disparate from the original as ashes.  I think humans have a need for a certain degree of  sentimentality and emotional ritual.  You certainly do not need God to act human.
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Offline kin hell

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #67 on: August 23, 2012, 11:38:57 PM »





...nice one Gnu   

....I'm glad you and your brother can get to do this   

.......I wish you both the best




« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 11:41:45 PM by kin hell »
"...but on a lighter note, demons were driven from a pig today in Gloucester."  Bill Bailey

all edits are for spelling or grammar unless specified otherwise

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #68 on: August 24, 2012, 07:11:25 AM »
I've been to that area.  It's very beautiful up there.

I'm sorry to hear about your folks.  I hope everything goes as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
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Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #69 on: August 24, 2012, 05:15:41 PM »
Hey guys.

I wasn't really expecting a reply to that post; as I've said, this thread is like a diary (with readers'comments!), and I've got a print-out of it somewhere. So I just wanted to record the last step in the process.

But thank you (again) for responding.

Reading bible passages is not irrational, either. It can be like ready any other poetry. It has meaning to you, and that's all that matters.
My brother was cool. I suggested that he read something from the Bible, because as I said,  I knew he'd want to. So he asked me if I had any particular passages in mind, and I said that there was some good material in Ecclesiastes. This was all last night. So we identified a couple of passages, and I left the final selection to him. And to his credit, he stuck to the secular passages which don't mention God at all, because he knew I wouldn't want to hear all that.

So that was a cool compromise. He got to read the Bible, I didn't have to listen to God stuff.

For what its worth, when my dad died my mom gave some of his ashes to me and my brother to do with whatever felt right for us. I took a trip to the Grand Canyon (which my dad had visited on multiple occasions and loved) and scattered his ashes at sunset. It was a very powerful experience, and I'm glad I did it.
That sounds good, Trav. It's an interesting example of how we assign meanings to things. Existentially speaking, it really doesn't matter what happens to some ashes. But emotionally speaking, it does.

For some reason, I'm reminded of the demise of the writer Hunter S Thompson, whose work I loved; on his stated request:
Quote
On August 20, 2005, in a private ceremony, Thompson's ashes were fired from a cannon to the tune of Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky" and Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." The cannon was placed atop a 153-foot tower of his own design, in the shape of a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button originally used in his 1970 campaign for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado. Red, white, blue, and green fireworks were launched along with his ashes.
That's the way to do it, Trav; go out with a bang.  :)
Quote
Hugs and I hope it goes well for you all.  :)
Thanks. It went well.

And throughout all of time, we have created rituals because on many levels, we need rituals.
Good point, Quesi. Brother and I needed to do something out of the ordinary in order to acknowledge the uniqueness of the occasion. And between the two of us, in spite of him being a christian and me not, we created something which worked for both of us.

Quote
I'll think of you tomorrow.
Thank you. And thanks for the PM, much appreciated.

I think humans have a need for a certain degree of  sentimentality and emotional ritual. 
Cheers, Garja. It's an interesting point that religion meets certain emotional needs, and that's why it's so persistent. But start a new thread on that, OK?  ;)

...nice one Gnu   

....I'm glad you and your brother can get to do this   

.......I wish you both the best
Cheers, bloke.

Actually, at various times this morning I did think about you guys here; because I'd re-read this thread last night, and all your comments - and especially Ray's - brought me to tears again.

So you may have been thinking about me - but I was also thinking about you!

I'm sorry to hear about your folks.  I hope everything goes as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
Thanks, PD.

Mike and I walked up to the ridge this morning; the sun was shining, the air was clear and we could see for miles. We got to the top of the field overlooking our old home. I read from a card (written by Mike), announcing to the world why we were there and what we were doing. I then walked along the ridge, slowly scattering Dad's ashes while Brother walked behind me reading out loud.

When I'd finished, we went back and repeated the process, scattering Mum's ashes over Dad's.

Mike then extended his hand to me (which is kind of normal for us; since we only meet 2 or 3 times a year, we usually shake hands on saying hello and goodbye), but I ignored it and gave him a big hug. And then there were tears, on both sides.

Which was cool. Though a bit weird. Or extra-ordinary. As it should be, I suppose.

But we did it, and it was good. It was what Mum wanted, and we did it.

And I appreciate the support I've received here.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 06:32:58 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline kin hell

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #70 on: August 24, 2012, 05:55:46 PM »

Mike then extended his hand to me (which is kind of normal for us; since we only meet 2 or 3 times a year, we usually shake hands on saying hello and goodbye), but I ignored it and gave him a big hug. And then there were tears, on both sides.

Which was cool. Though a bit weird. Or extra-ordinary. As it should be, I suppose.


wonderful heartwarming sharing

thanks Gnu




"...but on a lighter note, demons were driven from a pig today in Gloucester."  Bill Bailey

all edits are for spelling or grammar unless specified otherwise

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #71 on: August 24, 2012, 06:15:31 PM »
On a musical note; if I could have soundtracked that scene this morning - and I suddenly realize now that I could have provided some music - but I didn't think of it. Maybe that would have been too weird. Whatever.

I would have played this. By Sigur Ros, an Icelandic band.

The singer sings in a language he invented himself (and in amazing falsetto). So no-one knows what he's saying. Except him. Which is kinda sweet.

But watch the children, running up that hill....

Damn, tears in my eyes again...



Quesi, Trav, Kin... xxx.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 06:30:25 PM by Gnu Ordure »

Offline shnozzola

Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #72 on: August 26, 2012, 07:38:45 PM »
My guess is, you and your brother will return to that ridge many times and let your parents know what's happening and how important they are.
“I wanna go ice fishing on Europa, and see if something swims up to the camera lens and licks it.”- Neil deGrasse Tyson

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #73 on: September 01, 2012, 06:26:03 PM »
I hope so, Schnozzola.

I don't believe in sacred places - but that ridge is now a sacred place for me, and always will be.

I'll resolve that contradiction later...

Thanks,

Gnu.

Offline Traveler

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Re: I need to talk - or listen - I'm not sure...
« Reply #74 on: September 01, 2012, 10:00:31 PM »
Gnu, I have some places that I consider sacred too.

One of many definitions of sacred: "entitled to reverence and respect," from the merriam-webster. I could call those places "special" or "meaningful" or any number of other words, but somehow "sacred" has some weight to it. At times like these, I find that it doesn't do to get too pedantic about language.  :)
If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited by intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave.