I’m always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I’m listening to it.
A light quote to start my thoughts on death. I was told as a child that “Death always comes in threes” and in my head to this very day it’s said in the voice of Joan Hickson, known to my younger self as Miss Jane Marple spinster sleuth creation of Agatha Christie. It sounds like something Miss Marple would say over her knitting while spinning her verbal yarns about life in St. Mary Meade. Of course I originally heard the quote from my grandmother more than likely over her knitting while talking about the fear of death that floods through the small town of Snow Lake, Manitoba. Yes, Dr. I found that my love of Miss Marple is related to my own maternal grandmother Grace Young. Either way it’s a quote that I often say when anything of note happens. Bad things happen in 3’s and death happens in 3’s.
In recent life events that seem to come out of an Agatha Christie novel my parents have had to roll with what now totals 3 losses. My dad’s best friend from childhood lost his mother recently to a house fire, my parents lost a dear friend suddenly a short two weeks ago and yesterday my mom got word that her best friend’s mom had passed on. 6 weeks, 3 deaths and all friends of my parents and the emotional roller coaster takes it’s toll. Relief comes because now we reach the 3 mark like some dark finishing line but the loss leaves it’s mark because losses are never expected. You can’t ever really say I wasn’t surprised to hear that so and so had died even if so and so had something terminal because lets face it Death doesn’t keep a note listed on Facebook with souls I have to collect today. If he did we’d never be surprised, we’d never have to mourn and we’d never have regrets in the last few minutes of our lives. We’d all be living like we were dying if we knew when that would be.
I’m not one for funeral services and mostly because I have this odd need to laugh at the wrong time. Could be because I have no sense of decorum or it could be because my first funeral involved an officiant that sounded like he wanted to sell me a used car. Could be I need therapy but that’s why I have this blog.
As I sit thinking about a 3 rd possible service that I will have to attend sooner rather than later I find myself reflecting on the lessons I learned from Agatha Christie as I devoured her many novels. I think I relate to them at times like this because of the fact that her characters will often react with shock and awe upon the knowledge of death. The fine details come into play but the emotions displayed by her characters as they open the emergency brandy and talk about how you never see it coming. There is a realism there that is felt by people all over the world..beyond Poirot’s London flat…beyond Miss Marple’s village of St. Mary’s Meade when death comes. Most of the modern mystery novels I read now read more like CSI recaps and less like human dramas.
Death is a human drama and when it comes it envokes some of the strongest emotion people can feel other than love because death brings with it pain and no matter if physical or emotional pain is encompassing. People have to feel it and the drama has to play itself out so that the healing can begin. Folks remember the good and not so much the pain, live life a little bit more, and love those who loved the ones we have lost just as much as we did.
As Miss Marple would put it…life returns to normal in the village.