Between Funerals

One of the reasons I keep a blog is to try and make sense of my world. P1480802

It has been a difficult month. My mother hadn’t been well for sometime and I got a message from my brother, that if I wanted to see her before she passed away, I should get over to England quickly. I booked a flight and managed to get to York before she passed. My brother, his wife and one of my sisters were there too. My relationship with my siblings hasn’t been great since my dad died (2011). I didn’t get back when he was dying, I wasn’t expecting him to die so soon, and in his life he didn’t like a fuss, I thought I’d be okay seeing him later but that was a mistake, he died. I made a second mistake in not returning for his funeral.

mum and dad 2008

Mum and Dad in York, 2008

I arrived in York on Tuesday 12 July, Danny (my brother) and Jan (his wife) were with mum in the Oaks, a nursing home in York. I was quite shocked to see mum so emaciated and uncommunicative. She had been refusing treatment, and was being kept as comfortable as possible, the nursing and caring staff there are wonderful. She had refused fluids, so we knew it would only be a matter of time until she passed, too. It is surprising how long someone can last without fluids. I contacted my wife in Georgia, each day to let her know how things were going. She hadn’t come with me because the procedures for getting a visa would have taken too long. On Friday 15 July, I called her to update her with my news and she informed me that sadly her mother had died. This was a shock. Zoia had some health issues (diabetes and high blood pressure) but had seemed fine when I left for England. The funeral was scheduled for Tuesday 19 July. Jan, through Danny, said I should go back for that. So I booked a flight and left York on the Sunday getting to Tbilisi at 4am on Tuesday morning, the day of Zoia’s funeral.

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Me with Zoia and Lazare (June 2016)

Zoia’s body was laid out in the living room, as is Georgian tradition. As the time got closer to the funeral more people came to pay their respects, an emotional time. The funeral was around 3pm in a site across town in Saburtalo. I threw a handful of earth onto her coffin. After the funeral, there was a supra (Georgian feast) and many people asked me how my mother was doing, it was difficult to explain she was dying. The same day, my mother died.

My mother’s funeral is on Friday 29 July, I have volunteered to read the words of tribute (eulogy). I have booked a flight, the journey from Tbilisi to York takes around 16 hours. I was thinking of putting a rough draft of the eulogy on here and inviting feedback, but now I think it might be imprudent. My brother was disappointed when I posted news of my mother’s death on Facebook, before he had informed the family. I have apologised.

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Remembering Freda (my mum) and Zoia (my mother-in-law)

So now I find myself between funerals and with a eulogy to write.

 

19 comments

  1. Awww, I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. Social media and longstanding funeral customs have not meshed and I’ve heard of these difficult situations recently. Hard to lose those who love us the best.
    Thinking of you. Hope you can strengthen and renew family ties. Thank you for sharing your stories, Jim. If you publish the eulogy, do so afterwards.

    1. Thanks Ruth, I ve written a first draft of the eulogy, it isn’t worthy of pubication in its current form, I hope to polish it up a bit before Friday. Writing about the funerals helps in my grieving process.

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