Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Funeral

I have always referred to our Brother Friends as that, but they were actually identical twins. For the last thirty plus years they shared a home and more recently in much closer company in a unit in a retirement village.

Today was the funeral for one of them. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose someone so close who was not a partner. As they aged, they became much closer. Four and half years it was discovered one of them had bone marrow cancer, I've forgotten the proper word. He underwent horrendous treatment initially and never stopped undergoing treatment, from stem cell replacement to drug trials. He suffered through this with calmness and acceptance. He did not battle against cancer. He did not fight against cancer. He just accepted the treatment for the disease for as long as it was tenable for him. He was not an emotional person, and we liked him for that quality. R thinks he had a sad final few years. I say to R, not everyone wants to be out in the community and doing things like you do. Some are just quite content to let life flow past them. So what if he liked to watch tv all day? It is not for you, R, or me, but he enjoyed it.

It was a brief and simple funeral. No mention of him being gay. No mention of drag. No mention of wild parties. No mention of his two former partners. I am usually an emotional wreck at funerals, but I was ok at this one. Our Hairdresser Friend put some glitter and a couple of other things in his coffin. I was amused that many of the men who viewed his body seemed to have accidently picked up some glitter on their jackets. Aside from the celebrant, our Hairdresser Friend was the only one to speak, and she sailed close to the wind when alluding to his life that most people at the funeral would not know about. She got the point absolutely right without overstepping the mark, and later at the wake, she was being plied with questions about his life. She is such a natural speaker and quite glamorous, so I expect she came as a bit of a surprise to the family, as did the old but stylish Brighton Antique Dealer. His mother was Scottish born, and so it was appropriate to conclude with Amazing Grace, I suppose. It used to affect me, but not now.

As far as I know, all his nephews were there, who they only ever saw once a year at their brother's place on Christmas Eve and included the one who came down from Queensland, a three hour flight. One seemed quite upset. Sad that the twins were not much for family. 

The madame of the retirement village where they live, along with fellow residents the twins had come to know put on a great spread afterwards back at their abode. All perfectly nice, simple and wrapped up in less that two hours........yet so much left unsaid. Nevertheless, we can now move on. His surviving twin will go to Thailand to live, as they both had planned to do a few years ago. We may not see him again unless we visit him in Thailand. Life changes.


While it is far from perfect, I will just mention that all of late friend's treatment was within the public health system, and at most he may have payed dollar or two here and there for incidentals. The new Box Hill public hospital is as good as it gets for medical care, comfort and pleasant surroundings. 

15 comments:

  1. What a difficult loss to deal with, more like losing half of yourself.

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  2. My sincere condolences. It's always hard to lose a friend.
    I can't imagine being a twin and losing your other half.
    Here he would have paid MUCH more than a dollar or two.

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  3. A huge loss for his brother (and his friends). I hope his brother enjoys his time in Thailand and that you do visit.
    Hooray for our public health system. By no means perfect but much better than the alternative.

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  4. What a sad thing. I did not realize they were twins. My sister has grandsons that are identical twins. One boy seems fine as he navigates the world. The other twin is lost now that they have been separated in school. He is having very serious problems.
    My hope is that the remaining twin finds peace at this point in his life.

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    1. Perhaps those twins could be reunited in school for a time until the 'quiet' one adjusts?

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  5. A nice tribute, Andrew and quiet send off for a man who may have not been so quiet during part of his life at least. Some secrets better kept, and shared only in a smirky smile, upon remembrance.

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  6. I don't go to funerals now they are just too sad.
    Merle..........

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    1. Agree Merle... but it is almost impossible to avoid friends' and family members' deaths. Everyone I know and love is in their middle or late 60s, so there are bound to be many funerals in our future :(

      Andrew
      my very favourite music these days is Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

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  7. It does sound like the funeral was lovely and I'm happy that he is no longer suffering even though I didn't know him. Perhaps being so close as identical twins often are, they only needed each other so didn't need family to be close and visit. I hope the brother does okay in Thailand on his own.

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  8. What a lovely funeral by the way you described it.
    May he RIP

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  9. Thanks all for you kind words. R told me after the viewing that he looked very much at peace. It was as he wanted.

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  10. Sorry you've lost a dear friend. Losing a dear friend is sad...losing a sibling, even more so.

    Everyone deals with their own issues in they own individual way...the way that suits them.

    Grief has no time limit.

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  11. That's a beautiful flower arrangement, peaceful.
    Hope you're having a good day.

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  12. My condolence to you and your friend's family.
    Must be sad for the twin to lose his brother. Hope he does well in Thailand.

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  13. Sounds like exactly the kind of funeral your friend would have approved of at this time in his life Andrew. Although sad, and not wanting to sound heartless, his brother may be on the brink of a new life ✨

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.