Friday, January 25, 2013

Vale William Ellis 1920 - 2013

If I've been a bit quiet lately that's what dealing with everything involved in having a terminally ill family member in hospital and their subsequent death can do to you. It has been hard - and was made more difficult with some of my own health issues flaring so I wasn't able to drive and had to rely on others.

The last straw was that I lost my voice about three weeks before Dad died so I was trying to talk to doctors and nurses in little more than a whisper. Although I managed to force it - with the aid of a microphone - enough to give my part of the eulogy, I put a lot of strain on it and I'm now starting my sixth week of laryngitis barely able to whisper. Makes phone conversations - and there is a lot of business associated with a death which means phone calls that have to be made and made by certain specific people - something of a challenge.

Then there's the clearing out of belongings, making decisions about what to keep and what not to and sorting out paper work. It all takes time and mental as well as physical energy. In his part of the eulogy, my brother laid out a task for all those at the funeral. "Whatever you do," he said, "take this message away. Make sure you declutter and keep your affairs in order so your sons and daughters are not left having to do it after you're gone."

This is very good advice. It's only 5 years since we helped Dad clear his house of twenty years of accumulated stuff when he moved into the unit. What he has acquired since then is amazing. He wasn't a hoarder with piles of stuff everywhere. He was just a normal person with a few hobbies but the volume is staggering. Because it needs sorting it's taken us several weeks to clear it, even with, for example, packing up boxes of papers - it turns out he had a mass of information to do with the history of both sides of the family - to sort through later. Now though, there's only filling out the legal paper work and the executor takes over.

Dad did not see himself as special but in many ways he was, and I'm not saying that just because he was my father. He was not perfect but he was a kind and caring man, genuinely interested in people. Among those at Dad's funeral were many who had been helped by him and my mother and who came to show their respect and appreciation. He said to me recently that he had had a full and good life and was ready to go, although I have a sneaking suspicion he would have liked to have reached 93 which was only a few weeks away.

Rest in peace, Dad. You've earned the right.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Costa Prize Shortlist and Sexism

Foz Meadows blogs at The Huffington Post about the misogynistic responses to a reasoned and sensible article by Amanda Craig on the fact that, for the first time in its history, this year's Costa Prize winners (with the exception of one co-writer) are all women. Instead of congratulations the comments by many of the male commenters are frankly shocking. Apparently we women are just endless trouble makers and always complaining. Hmm, I wonder why.

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Weird and the Wonderful

So bad morning, builders from hell back at work after the Christmas/ New Year break and Western Power blocking off escape from the house while they drill and saw and generally make a din doing some maintenance on the power poles over the road - and the weather has morphed into tropical heat and humidity so I'm sitting here soaked to the skin. Since, miraculously, the power has not gone off although they said it would, a blog post seems in order but it had better be short, I guess, in case the power does get cut.

So found via The Bloggess two fascinating websites: Abandoned Porn Don't be afraid. This is not "porn" but a series of beautiful photos of abandoned or derelict buildings. Just breathtaking.
Then we have this from National Geographic. A restored time capsule of the house of a French eccentric opened to the public a hundred after the death of its owner. Just wow!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

2012 Year in Review

I'm not going into detail. It was bad enough to have to have lived through it. Suffice it to say it was not the kind of year I had planned. The three high points all involved my close family - and let me tell you they really were fantastically great high points - but they were all over-shadowed by an on-going low that was no-one's fault, totally beyond our control and managed to suck most of the joy out of everything else. Add to that continuing health issues that swallowed up whatever energy I managed to summon plus several deaths and that leaves not much to celebrate. Actually bye-bye 2012. You had your fun with us, now be on your way.

So, looking forward, what would I like to see in 2013? Finally getting to do the travelling I had to cancel because of the endless life suck that was 2012. Fewer health problems - and there is a glimmer of hope on that front. Not building any hopes on it but a glimmer is definitely better than standing in a big black pit with darkness wherever you look. More time with family and friends. Resolution of some other longstanding problems that have been adding their own layer of misery. Time, blessed time, where I can do something more than than just be battered from one crisis to another.

So my one and only New Year's resolution is fairly self evident:  survive. I can do that.