Episode Seventy Seven: But It Keeps Going

by danhon

1.0 But It Keeps Going

The service is tomorrow.

I haven’t done this before, really, and I suppose this time round, I’m old enough to really understand what’s going on.

It’s not that I haven’t been to funerals before. The first that I remember was for the father of a close family, and sticks in my mind not only because the deceased was the father of childhood friends, but because it was the first time I remember seeing my father cry.

And then there were the funerals of my paternal grandparents – who had come over to live with us in England around when I was 16, and for whom alzheimer’s had already taken its toll, and with whom I couldn’t really communicate. But then, as the alzheimer’s got worse, we both had the Cantonese vocabulary of a five year old. Which was painful in and of itself, never mind the repeated introduction to and explanation of my wife.

But, the service is tomorrow. And family and friends are coming in. And there’s not really any time to be sad – only in the down times, I guess – because there’s too much to be done. There’s a four week old granddaughter here, and a fifteen month old grandson here. There’s sleeping arrangements to be made, decisions about music and readings and timings and making sure that everyone eats, plus the phone keeps going off every few minutes.

And then, you take a minute to slow down and you look at the list of things you have to do, and you look through a photo library and that person you’re looking at isn’t coming back. And Aperture says: is this Sonia Ray? And you say: no, that’s obviously not Sonia how could you be so insensitive, I just want to find some photos of her from before she had to wear that stupid wig.

Or you find photos of her from when she was helping her daughter get ready for her wedding, and it was so long ago now, and everything was so different and so completely unlike today.

But, the service is tomorrow. And just by looking through the photos – the ones we don’t have digitised sitting on a hard drive or a web server somewhere, I guess we’re learning so much more about family and remembering so much. It’s just sad that it has to take this.

Thank you, all, for the notes that you’ve sent. I know hardly any of you, and you hardly know me. But hey, apparently the internet is dehumanising. Apparently it stops us from connecting. Apparently it just gets in the way of regular empathy and feeling for someone, to which I say: bollocks to that, too. I read each and every one of your notes and showed some to my wife and I can’t thank you enough.

I knew this day would be coming. I talked to my therapist about it, weeks ago. I was terrified, for whatever stupid reason, that something would happen that would break my habit of writing, and that once I had that broken habit, I’d feel terrible about myself and another cycle of depression would kick in, right as I was needing it the least. Not that you ever need depression. But, I can still write. For now. I don’t know if I’ll be able to on Monday. But even if I don’t on Monday, I think I’m OK with that. I hope I am. I know one of the things I need to do for myself, if I’m ever to completely (or more thoroughly) escape my depression is to be kinder to myself, and to lose this all-or-nothing attitude.

But meantime, there are things that need to be done. More photos to be collected. A playlist. Shirts to be ironed. Calvin’s clothes for tomorrow – his smartest outfit yet, for his saddest day yet. Probably more errands to run. So.

Right now, I don’t really care about what Apple’s plans are for Beats music. Or that they might be wasting about three billion dollars. Or how big an iPhone might be or whether Oculus is building the Metaverse or if Xbox is losing to PlayStation.

I don’t care.