2010年12月27日月曜日

different story, same message

I'm a romantic. I love happy endings, Hugh Grant movies, rainbows and flowers, puppies and firelight. Especially firelight in winter in Nagano. I like to think the world is a good place full of good people who sometimes hit a bump in the road and wobble for a moment but are basically just good.

So when I arrived at the temple on Friday to pay my respects to my departed neighbour's family and saw her husband racing down the stairs just as I was racing up I first thought 'Aggghhh!!! I missed the entire funeral???' Then I remembered that there were three rows of cars down below me on the baseball ground and noticed that no-one else was leaving and wondered what was up.

Then I walked into the temple and overheard a lot of kerfuffle over the old man who had absconded from the funeral:

Where's grandpa/ the old man gone?
He had his truck here?
Didn't anyone take his keys?
Send someone to go get him!

The old man in question is not a bad sort. Grumpy only in an average for an old man kind of way and he always stops to say hi when he rattles past in his old truck- pity I really can't work out what he's saying- and I think he's one of the more personable old men around here, not that there's that much competition....

So all the way home I was inventing a back story of forever-after love and overwhelming emotion and an old guy who couldn't express himself properly when his wife was right beside him and then found it too hard to say goodbye. The message was obviously tell people how much they mean to you and make the most of the time you have together.

This heartrending tale made me feel all warm and gooey and happy in a sad funeral attendance type way until my ultra-pragmatic, realistic, down to earth and stomp through the daisies to get where you need to get neighbour A dropped in with the goss.

The real story.

That the old man and the old woman had been fighting like cats and dogs. She was bedridden and bored and fractious. He was in the middle of apple season and too busy to deal with it and grumpy, remember. Their son and his wife and their kids were busy too. So they put her in the village respite care facility just until the apple season was over. And despite going from a pretty draughty, pretty old house with an outside bathroom to a pretty new, pretty centrally heated, full service care facility she went down hill and eventually passed away without ever coming home again.

That's such a sad story. And I really empathise with the old man for running away from the funeral.

It's not at all like the story I dreamed up but I think the message is the same:

Tell people how much they mean to you and make the most of the time you have together.

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