Sunday, August 5, 2012

Another Funeral

My staff are tired and emotional. Not in the obnoxious, whiskey fueled, staggering about way made famous by Oliver Reed, although my male staff is frequently obnoxious and does occasionally stagger when my female staff kicks his shin when he makes one of his famous social gaffes. Like asking one of my female staff's friends when her baby was due, only to be told with what I thought was unwarranted venom that "Actually, I'm not pregnant." No, my staff are tired and emotional because just after dawn last Tuesday my female staff's dad passed away peacefully in his sleep at the aged care home, or Stalag luft 3 as he liked to call it. He was the head of the escape committee there and made several unsuccessful bids for freedom. He just wasn't quite fast enough on his wheelie-walker to elude the guards.  There have been a lot of leaky eyes this week, and Badger and I feel a special sympathy for my female staff's poor mum. She and my female staff's dad had been married for fifty seven years. How on earth do you fill a gap like that?

Sunny Days Aged Care Home

There has been much rushing around of humans since Tuesday morning. Apparently when a human goes to the Rainbow Bridge there are lots of things to be done. Funerals to be organised, paperwork to be completed, people to be notified, notices placed in newspapers. It's much easier when one of us animals "pops our clogs". Someone just digs a hole in the garden and shoves us into it. I think my female staff's dad would have preferred that actually. He was a down to earth sort of chap. Once while on holiday in London he decided that he needed a haircut. Just around the corner from the hotel was a hairdressing salon. It was full of camp, John Inman type stylists and the chairs were occupied by fashionably dressed young men all waiting to have their hair sculpted, streaked and gelled or whatever other unspeakable acts that young, fashionable men like to have inflicted on their hair. My female staff's dad's turn came and he was beckoned to the chair by one of the John Inman types with a wafted beckoning wave.
 "What can we do for Sir today?" Asked the stylist. "Would Sir like a wash and massage before I style your hair?"
 No, Sir wouldn't thank you very much." He replied. Sir would just like you to knock it off." My female staff's dad wasn't accustomed to such establishments. He was a farmer from the Australian bush. I think he used to get one of his sheep shearers to cut his hair. In any case, the stylist looked at him as though he had just loudly and noxiously passed bottom wind. Which knowing my female staff's dad he may well have done. Especially in his later years.

On Friday we all went to what is known as a "viewing". We all got to say our final farewells to my female staff's dad, my female staff, her mum, frantic sister, my male staff, Badger and I. They'd put the poor old fellow in a funny shaped box hidden behind a curtain in the chapel. The lid of the box had been removed so that we could see him. There were leaking eyes as one by one we said goodbye, yet he looked peaceful as if  he were sleeping. All the pain of his horrid illness had been cleansed from his face. We'd seen him dozing like this a hundred times and half expected his eyes to snap open at any moment. Mind you if they had, there would have certainly been a surfeit of bush chocolate in the chapel. My female staff's mum sobbed quietly as she gently touched his cheek and squeezed his hand. Frantic sister places a scarf that her dad had given her around his neck. Both daughters told their dad that they would take care of their mum. My male staff was juggling both Badger and I in his arms, so he did well to stroke the back of my female staff's dad's hand and tell him he'd look after his daughter, especially as I was wriggling like crazy, trying to get into a position to sniff Badger's bottom passage and Badger was wriggling like crazy trying to escape.  I suppose it's not surprising that he didn't notice when his cell phone slipped out of his shirt pocket and fell into the box with my female staff's dad.

Badger wanted to know why he couldn't have a cuddle with my female staff's dad. I had to explain to him that he'd gone to the Rainbow Bridge, but that we'd all see him again in due course. Badger then asked how my female staff's dad could be in the box and at the Rainbow Bridge at the same time. I distracted him from this rather tricky topic by sniffing his butt.

Today was the funeral service and on the whole it was a happy affair, with many friends and family there to give my female staff's dad a good send off. It was a splendid sub-tropical winter's day with crystal clear blue sky, warm sunshine and birdsong. There were prayers, a eulogy written by my male staff with personal additions from my female staff, frantic sister and my female staff's mum. There was also some of my female staff's dad's favourite music. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", "Amazing Grace" and a really haunting pan flute number that had everyone in tears. Then the curtains drew across behind the Reverend to finally conceal my female staff's dad in his now sealed, funny shaped box. There was a moment of silence, followed by the urgent, slightly muffled ribbit ribbit ribbit....ribbit ribbit ribbit of  my male staff's cell phone's frog ringtone.

I still don't understand how Billy's female staff's dad can be in two places at once. I just wish he was here to stroke my feet the way he used to.



  1. So sorry Billy. Extra hugs to you, staff, and Badger.

  2. Dear Badger and Billy, I don't know you - drifted here accidentally. That was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing such an intimate occasion. My mom's mom was also born in '29 and is going strong, but after reading this she's going to try to take her to dinner tomorrow!

    Much love to your family and to Edmund Ensor. Is that what his mom called him when he was bad?

    Cokie the Cat: Hollywood Insider

  3. Hugs Billy, Badger and your Staff ... Our sincere condolences at this time ... you have had your share of grief this year and face it with humour and gentle understanding.
    With all our love
    Jane & Jessie

  4. Me haves to say to Badger that me finks you should've sat still for Billy's offer of a butt-sniff!! After all, what better way to break the uncomfortable silence that was undoubtably in the air! It may have brought forth a good chuckle amongst your family and friends. That's sounds wike somefing your female staffs Dad would've enjoyed! All in attendance should, however, be grateful that Badgers attempt at escape did not bwing forth a load of bush chocolate fwom Badgers butt, stwaight onto your female staffs dad! He sounds wike the type of guy you would be lucky to nose!
    Me haves missed your bwog cause my momma was hit by a dwunk-dwiver and she haves been in the hospital for over a week now! Us anipals may not nose much but me feels pwetty confident when me says that your female staffs dad should be able to twade pwaces wif the piece of bush chocolate, a**hole that hit momma!
    Congwatulations to Badger for his ability to incorporate his feet into his footnote. This one was a toughie!!
    Love and nuzzles to your female staff and the whole family!!!

  5. I am so so sorry for your loss, sending massive hugs to you all!