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Getting Real : Speak your peace

What I would not give for Wondrous Oblivion!

from Baxter - Thursday, November 03, 2005
accessed 1221 times

I attended a funeral yesterday. One of my cousins passed into history with never so much as an explanation for his death. One minute he's playing cricket with his two-year old son, and the next he's dead, and not a soul can figure out what it was that killed him.

I was close to his mother (my aunt). She took me in (or rather, had me dumped on her when I left TF and came to this country). I felt an obligation to her to attend her son's funeral, though I can't for the life of me understand the significance of my presence. She certainly cares about me, but our relationship has always been one of strain, and exacerbate by the social implications imposed upon it by the nature of its conception. The truth is, she's the only member of my extended family I really know.

So I'm sitting there in the second to front row, with all the cousins and their parents. On the other side are the brother and sister of the deceased, the mother (my aunt) and the father, and the family of the widow. Practically in the fucking front row. I'm a member of the family and I don't really know who we're supposed to be fucking burying here. I mean, I 'know' the guy, I met his wife and kids years ago. I 'know' his brother and sister. In that same vein I 'know' the cousins I'm sitting next to. But I don't really know any of them any more than they 'know' me. And the truth is, I'm not sure I care about any of them, nor am I sure I care that the the deceased is in fact thus. And this is my family, my blood, my kin, my clan. The people one imagines are the only truly reliable and solid pillars of one's life.

The whole church is so full that there are people standing in the back. And when the pall-bearers raise the coffin and carry it to the hearse, and I join the procession towards the exit, I realise that a great number of the people from the front and middle rows to the back are weeping their souls out. And all I can feel is cold and completely empty. Half of me feels guilty that I cannot share their imparted grief. And when I feel guilty, I inevitably feel indignant. Why the hell should I feel anything for someone I hardly knew? As I leave the church I see that many of my cousins and other relatives (mostly he only people I actually know) are also crying. But I feel nothing. Nothing but completely hollow.

And then it hits me: this is not your family. These are not your cousins. This is not your blood. You don't belong here. Why are you even here?

I am next to nothing of consequence to these people. They will say that they care about me; they will engage in superficial small-talk; they will invite me to visit them some time. They will extend the obligatory entreatise of family ties. If it was me in the coffin, they would (perish the thought!) attend my funeral. But I mean as much to them as they do to me: next to nothing.

We can talk about caring for a person; we can act in a caring manner towards a person; We can give blood, sweat and tears in the best interests of said person. But in the end it is all meaningless wind. I had less reason to care about someone within my own extended family than did the onlookers in the backrow. Wherein and whence the ties of blood and kin today? Lost in the insignificant hogwash of rhetorical babble!

And thus I am left with another portion of my identity in tatters: My name. On my passport it is a series of letters to which is ascribed a serial number. Genealogically, it tells other people who fucked whom and what the consequences of said fucking are presumed to be. Emotionally, it is a crutch. And as such, it is for me a broken one.

Outwardly, I tell every relative that I must make an effort to become better acquainted with my family; inwardly, I'm screaming rage.

I shouldn't be ungrateful. Some members of my family have helped through trying and painful times. And I know that at times I have been a burden. To them I am wholly grateful for their kindness and generosity. I know I would have been driven to attend the funeral for sheer moral obligation (which is why I went anyway). But emotionally, I still feel nothing. I still don't know and I still don't care.

Perhaps I should get to know them better; perhaps I should make the effort. Most of them are nice and decent people. But the truth is, I don't make friends easily, nor do I like people who do. The friends that I do keep have been my friends for years, and have become more to me than any of my so-called blood relatives could ever be (excluding my immediate family- my brothers and sisters). The bonds I feel towards these true friends are bonds born of time, experience and trust. What would be the point of letting these people of my so-called kin into my life to allow them to know the kind of person that I am? Is the bond of blood really sufficient to warrant that? What good could it serve?

It's at times like these that I wish I could vapourise myself; erase myself from their conscious thought. I feel guilty that I have imposed my presence into their midst, asserted my existence into their inner circle. I feel like an outsider. I am an outsider. And yet I don't want to come in from the cold. I don't want to impose the hospitality of strangers- which is what I realise that they are to me.

I'm not saying that I crave solitude; what I crave is oblivion. Why should I feel obliged to a family whose significance is to my parents and not me? These are the family of my father, and not of me. Why should I feel guilt at having no emotional attachment to people whose only significance to me is that imparted by my parents?

I feel more alone among these people than I do in solitude. If my father could detach himself from his own immediate family (which he grew up with) with little or no inhibition, why should I not feel less inhibited detaching myself from my alienated extended family (of whom I know nothing)? In the end, all that these people can ever be to me is little more than friends, but friends to whom I must effect extended obligations.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone about something in the same vein: the desire to simply fade into the background of the world; to find contentment in the arms of triviality. Most of us have had this conversation before. Most of us answer quite emphatically that we would not think to lose the wealth of experience and wisdom consequent to our childhoods and our upbringing. The thought of losing oneself into the throughs of the pointless, faceless mass of humanity is a suggestion that bears no gravity. And rightly so. But in reality, we were not afforded that choice. We are who we are, neither can we truly change our identity. And so at the funeral I could not pretend to be moved to anything but anger and revulsion at the supposedly solacious diatribe of the Catholic priest who tells us that our deceased had his life pointlessly cut short for the will of a God who did so out of love and altruism. I could not truly pretend that any of it meant any thing to me. But GOD I WISH I COULD!

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from clark
Friday, November 04, 2005 - 09:29

The bond of blood is the strongest bond on earth. That's why TF was so evil to continually tear families apart and put no emphasis on our families togetherness. You have the rest of your life to grow close to your family. They probably feel as estranged tward you as you do them. I say never give up. Make an effort to know them. They are the ones that through thick and thin will be there for you. They have to, they are your blood. I have slowly grown close to my aunts and uncles since leaving. At first they were stangers to me but they did not choose to not know me. TF chose that for me. Your extended family share your jeans, you are probably more alike than you think. You have to do some exploring to find out though.
(reply to this comment)
Saturday, November 05, 2005, 08:23


You're absolutely correct. A functional family is the strongest bond, The Family helped create dysfunctional families for their divide and conquer purpose. Friendships are great but were never intended to take the place of family. The day my friends take precedence over my family is when I know I have a dysfunctional family. It used to be like that until my family fought hard to come back together. (reply to this comment

From Fish
Saturday, November 05, 2005, 05:18

"The bond of blood is the strongest bond on earth." No. Share trust and experiences are what matter, not something purchased at GAP. I just so you know, I dont let anyone share my "jeans". Their expensive.(reply to this comment
From Baxter
Saturday, November 05, 2005, 12:22

Once again, I completely agree with you, Fish. Except the stuff about your bloody jeans. (reply to this comment
From Fish
Saturday, November 05, 2005, 05:19

Shared(reply to this comment
from EyesWideShut
Friday, November 04, 2005 - 08:38


My Dad recently conceeded to giving me a contact address for my Grandmother. Since then, I've gotten into direct contact with her for the first time. She has a lot of questions and I'm determined to tell her the truth about what things are really like and what my Dad has really been doing with her money all these years.

She wanted me to tell her about my abuse.

I thought about it a long time. Then wrote her back and said that I didn't really know here, so I didn't feel I could tell her about such private things at this point. Maybe in the future.

Felt very strange.
(reply to this comment)

from moon beam
Friday, November 04, 2005 - 08:16

My grandfather who would have nothing to do with us died last year near to both Ricky's and my sister's death and I can honestly say-I couldn't/didn't feel much either way for my grandfather. It meant almost nothing in comparison.

On the other hand, my other grandparents (step and maternal) I love dearly, they have meant much to me in my life.

I agree with the poster who said that in this society we are not told about death, loss and grief and are not prepared for it. The west seems very sanitised in this regard.

(reply to this comment)
from Fish
Friday, November 04, 2005 - 07:44

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Well said. I know absolutely nothing about any of my extended family, though I kind of wish I did. It seems a bit late to start now.

I've reconciled myself to the fact that in society I am, and will likely remain an outsider. I seem to fit in, I have "normal" friends, but the feeling is just not there. There are times where I certainly long for oblivion. As to weather I would give up my "special" background for a "dull, normal, pathetic life", hell yeah I would.

Traveling I'm constantly around these gradschool dickheads (Stiffler wannabes) whose soul goal in life is to have loads of sex and money(the smarter ones) , and I despise them.

I despise them for their commonness, their lack of depth. But you know what? They are happy in their "dull, normal way". If I could chose to have lived their "shallow" lives, rather than my (questionably) "deptgiving" life, I would take theirs any day. (Well today, at any rate.)
(reply to this comment)
from Benz
Friday, November 04, 2005 - 02:46

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I'm really grateful for your posting Bax.

I've wondered how I could explain a similar feeling which occurred to me when my Grandfather passed away last 2 years ago. I always loved my Grandpop - the few times I actually got to meet him when I was a child in TF. He took me on little walks and would say "lets do something sneaky that your dad won't know about". - He became the prime archetype in my mind instead of Berg, because he knew, he was my Grandpop, and he gave me the idea to think for myself, what was good for me not the cult.

Anyways when I saw him in the casket before the funeral ceremony I actually felt something pass between us. - I felt some kind of understanding while looking at his face, he didn't feel dead, I felt he understood me. I really don't know how to explain it, it was strange.

Anyways, after the funeral and even during the ceremony I didn't feel what I though I should feel. My cousins all knew my pop more than I and they cried, they actually missed alot more of him I think, because they had more memories. I didn't cry, and I would have felt deceitful for doing so.

I was upset when a "prophecy" which my dad received was read even though he didn't come to the ceremony. I actually preferred it when the freemasons put the leaves on my pops coffin, at least he chose to be a freemason, not a COG member.

After the ceremony when everyone was talking, I felt so removed, like I always do. But I was happy to see so many people who cared for my pop and hear the stories.

So I think in my small way I understand what you're saying. To be honest over the past few days I've wanted to write an article on this site on the topic of death because I think its something that the group fantasy we grew up with has kept us from dealing with and I wondered what peoples thoughts or experiences were. Maybe someone will post such an article, it would be interesting.

(reply to this comment)

from mia1
Thursday, November 03, 2005 - 16:17

I know how you feel same thing happened to me at my grandmas funeral. Except my mom took it as a damn family reunion, she didn't shed one tear for her mother. Had the audacity to be thrilled to see her cousins again though, didn't give a crap that I don't know the names of mine.

(reply to this comment)
from flyonthewall
Thursday, November 03, 2005 - 13:50

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Baxter, I don't know much about you and I don't read everything you post, but when I do read things, I come away from the experience thinking about your comments. They're usually thought-provoking. You write very well. Don't know what else to say, except I wish you well in your kampf.
(reply to this comment)
from EyesWideShut
Thursday, November 03, 2005 - 13:31

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Shakespear said, "there is nothing so common as the wish to be extraordinary".

Well said, Baxter. I'm feeling the same thing these days. Most of us probably feel the same way.

There is a certain strength a person can draw from his past; feeling like you're at the end of a long line of (insert surname here)'s that have come and gone before, imprinting you with their collective genetic memories and wisdom.

If you believe in an afterlife, you can then assume that your deceased relatives are all around you, pushing through the veil with that extra 10% when you need it. Maybe your great great great aunt Gretta rocks that old chair in the corner. Maybe not.

To be one leaf on an oak of brave imigrants, travelers, craftsmen, sailors, vikings, maharajas, or moonshiners, and to know that your flesh and blood made it all this way--and here you are--just workin' it. No biggie. It must back you up somehow, making you feel a part of the greater whole.

As it is, I often feel like I'm the lone worm, tied to the end of the string, hanging off a pole, dangling just above the water. I'm not even sure that somebody is holding the pole. Maybe they've just propped the pole up and left me there and gone off to get a beer.
(reply to this comment)

From Lance
Friday, November 04, 2005, 01:27

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

"As it is, I often feel like I'm the lone worm, tied to the end of the string, hanging off a pole, dangling just above the water. I'm not even sure that somebody is holding the pole. Maybe they've just propped the pole up and left me there and gone off to get a beer."

That's got to be the best extended metaphor I've heard in a long time.(reply to this comment

From EyesWideShut
Friday, November 04, 2005, 08:36

Meaning you liked it?(reply to this comment
From moon beam
Friday, November 04, 2005, 08:47

I liked it! (reply to this comment
From EyesWideShut
Friday, November 04, 2005, 10:16

(reply to this comment
From EyesWideShut
Friday, November 04, 2005, 12:44

Silly me, I sent it with nothing written. Duh. Glad you liked it. That's how I feel.(reply to this comment

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