Death and The Maiden

Sad people make you sad.

By fortune alone I spent 33 years, 7 months, and 14 days, not having attended a funeral. No close friends, and only a few distant (in geography and mind) aunts and uncles have passed, and with little emotional strain. My grandparents were all dead before I was born, save one, my maternal grandmother. I was spared having to say goodbye to the old girl due to my still being a bit too tender, and my memory of a feminine Jabba shrouded in a Rothmans-blue haze remains uncorrupted for not having seen her in state.

But my remarkable record was shattered this summer, as I felt somewhat pressed to attend my (now former) manager’s service. She died abruptly and without warning from a brain aneurysm, suffered just inside the doorway linking the clubhouse to the terrace. As I am employed by a family owned and operated business, the club immediately suffered the loss of several employees, and those of us not tied to the business by relations, picked up the slack.

I cannot say I felt any personal loss for the passing of a woman I knew for only two months. She was polite and pleasant but essentially an acquaintance, though given the genuine warmth she engendered in the obviously large body of friends and admirers she collected, I suspect I too would have succumbed to her nature should she have lived. However, despite lacking a profound personal connection to the deceased, I nonetheless found myself suffering the effects of emotional strain.

I think most anyone would probably characterize me as slightly detached or distant. Not an emotionless monster, but nonetheless rarely breaking from an outwardly steady demeanor. I therefore found myself slightly surprised at feeling down for a few weeks after the death. As I have said, the death itself meant only so much, so direct loss was not the culprit. The cause was simply an endless string of unhappy people at work; tears, family members, friends hugging, the looming funeral, the “I just can’t believe it”, and the ever present demand that I am to respond with remorse disproportionate to what I am feeling.

An ugly situation. Social adequacy dependent on playing a part as if  in a play  in an improv group. I imagine I felt something akin to what an actor in a particularly dark or depressing role must endure when not working -that it is impossible to entirely let go. That if you pretend to have certain feelings… then you will feel them.

Best to just avoid the buzz kills.

Robin Lindsay

rockrobinoff[at]gmail.com

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