Today I attended the funeral of someone who died far too soon. I wasn’t working at this funeral. This one was someone I knew.
His death was not at the end of some great illness. It was unexpected. It was a death that would make you think that it was desperately unfair.
In my line of work as a funeral organist/singer, I see a lot of grieving people. I have seen a range of emotions at funerals. I don’t think I’ve seen happiness but certainly there have been many who are contented and accepting. Those are usually when the deceased has lived a long and fulfilling life. There are those who have been sick for a long time and death is somewhat of a welcome relief.
Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. The middle aged. The young. The couple that died suddenly together. Those that mourn them are usually somewhere else in the stages of grief. One mourner put it very well her eulogy for her father, “I am annoyed with him. He went before I could say goodbye.”
Say all the things you need to say to a person.
“I love you.”
“You’re my world.”
“I owe it all to you.”
Don’t let your last words be ones you regret. Say it now.
Today fell into a black hole. I had great plans to do things. My mother is currently staying with us while she is recuperating from surgery. My plan was to take her out of the house and get our groceries and other errands at a leisurely pace.
It didn’t happen.
We had to pop to her house for some things and we (the three generations of ladies) sat around for lunch. Sitting turned to reclining and reclining turned into napping. A number of hours later we all woke to learn that the day was drawing to a close so we up and went home.
That was the end of that.
Today I did something I haven’t done in almost 10 years. I applied for a job. And for the first time in almost 10 years I’m not even sure I’ll be considered for the position.
I set out many years ago to achieve a career goal and I did just that. I also said that I would leave my job if I had a child because I wanted to be present for that child in a way that my parents were unable to be for me. And I did that too. Now, my child is growing and thriving and showing such resilience and independence and I think it’s time I found my way back to the workforce.
Throughout my life I’ve had many jobs and a couple of careers. I’m not afraid to keep moving forward. I’m excited by new challenges. Sure, I could take the easy path and stay in the same career. I could even progress up the ladder within that career. But does that feed my soul? Does that give me the positive energy I need within me to get up each day and do the things I have to do? Will that make me happy?
My first “grown-up” job was as a personnel consultant. I was 21 and straight out of uni with a Bachelor of Commerce under my belt. I knew all there was to know about Organisational Behaviour and Human Resource Management. Yeah, right. I knew enough about enough to do ok in my assignments and exams. I was 21 – what did I know about anything?
Within 6 weeks of starting I knew I was in the wrong job. I had witnessed the most depressing side of employment and unemployment. I was working with long term unemployed people and those at risk of becoming so. My task was to diagnose why they couldn’t find work and then fix it…all within 13 weeks of meeting them. Some of my clients had never worked. Some were illiterate. Some had alcohol and drug addictions. Some had what I recognise now as mental health disorders, probably undiagnosed and certainly untreated. Some took their own lives. Others wanted to.
Then there were the women who had left work because they married. They became mothers and stayed home to look after the children. Then the children grew up. Their husbands were laid off or had died. They were left with no money and no purpose. Many had no skills they could offer the workforce. More than a few had not completed high school. They were mostly in their 40s and hadn’t worked since their 20s. The work they had done was usually retail. They’d been “shop girls”. Employers in the late 1990s weren’t looking for 45yr old shop assistants.
I know all too well the dangers of long gaps on a resume. I recall the faces of those women. By the time they came to me, they’d been trying to find work for at least a year or more. That haunting look of desperation and hopelessness. Mostly replaced by fear at the mention of re-training. Occasionally replaced with joy when I was successful in finding them an open door.
I’m dipping my toe into the water and I’m hoping to catch a fish I’ve never seen before. A new career. I’ll have to start at the bottom but I’m not afraid of working hard to prove myself. I’m hopeful that my skills will carry me through. One thing is for sure – I’m not going to let 20 years go past without trying something new.
Schedule is slowing down this week.
This was only yesterday yet I have virtually no recollection of anything that happened.
Actually, the one thing I do remember was driving all over the countryside to deposit a cheque into an ATM. We were doing grocery shopping at shopping centre 1 (4kms from home). They have 2 ATMs for our bank: 1 was out of order and the other doesn’t take deposits. So we drove to shopping centre 2 (a further 2kms east). That ATM has been removed…despite the bank website saying there is a suitable ATM there. So then we up and off to shopping centre 3 (12kms back to the west and passing within 200m of our house as we went). Success.
(still backdating on account of busyness)
The madness of the week continued today with yet another day of rushing around from pillar to post.
Mum spent last night in hospital after reconstructive surgery on her hand which was not done until very late in the day.
Need a hand?
My day was to kick off with another funeral so that meant, yet again, I could not go and be with my mum when she needed me. Fortunately, a friend of ours who has a daughter a little younger than Snugglepot was able to come over with said little one and be in loco parentis. Shortly after the funeral I got word that Mum should be cleared for discharge soon. “Soon”…whatever that means. I eventually drove the hour to the hospital to get her, navigating roads that have changed dramatically since I last drove them. I picked her up and drove as smoothly as I could (because of her nausea) in what could have been described as early peak hour traffic. Finally home, I then virtually had to turn around and head back out!
Snugglepot was given the treat of a late night while I went out to a meeting/music practice and Daddy was working late. She was also under strict instructions to be a gentle nurse to her grandmother…which she was.
Given the lateness of the homecoming and how tired we all were, we decided to get a takeaway for dinner. I went home via the chosen fast-food chain and upon leaving heard a disconcerting sound as I drove. Thoomp……thoomp…thoomp..thoomp..thoomp thoomp thoomp. A flat tire. Late at night. In the rain.
Please tell me this week is over.