Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Family Feud

I thought watching my Dad die would be the hardest thing about this whole trip, but it turns out that it's the whole family feuding and nastiness that happens after a loved one dies that is the really shitty bit.

The day he died all the Menzies clan arrived at Dad's home, bringing our rowdy laughter, tears and noise together. It soon became apparent that Dad's wife and Dad's family have two different styles of mourning. Dad's wife preferred quiet and solitude, so rather than tiptoe around her grief we decamped to my aunt Christine's place. In classic Menzies fashion we have gathered every evening around the table with food and booze, and talked and laughed and cried together until the early hours of the morning. It's been wonderful - aside from what appears to be the degenerating relationship between us and the 'other camp'.

With shock and anger I have watched as the wishes of my Dad's daughter and sister have been disregarded and coopted. From being the only one who wanted to follow my Dad's hearse to the crematorium I was left behind, when the funeral director changed the time of departure the day before and nobody thought to tell me (we had already decamped by the time that happened). No blood relations accompanied Dad on this last journey.

There is such jealousy - probably on both sides, I'll admit that - over our relationship with him. I found out that my Dad's wife often complained about me to my family. I say, kudos to Dad for never letting on. I also feel proud that I never burdened him with similar emotions at my end. For my part I accepted her because Dad cared for her. That's what you do when someone you care about loves someone - you accept them. But from what has emerged it appears there was acrimony from her about both me and my mother. I have to say that at a time like this it's pretty hard not to just write her off as a total bitch.

But I know that Dad would be horrified at these goings on, so for his sake I'm trying to keep it together. Emotions are running high of course, which is natural at this time. But geez, I wish it didn't have to be this bloody hard. It seems like my Dad's death has been eclipsed by family politics and bullshit, and we have lost focus on what's really important, which is the love we all had for Dad.

Friday, May 25, 2012

26.11.1950 - 25.5.2012

This was Dad on Wednesday night. With his wife, her sister, his daughter, step-daughter, her four kids, and his sister and brother-in-law around him, rolling a cigarette (that Dr Pat!). Wearing one of Anne's fur coats in the 12 degree temperature, and smiling.

That is how I will remember him.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My horoscope

This is my horoscope for the week from my favourite astrologer, Rob Breszny:

Don't pretend you can't see the darkness. 
Admit to its presence. Accept its reality. And then, dear Cancerian, walk 
nonchalantly away from it, refusing to fight it or be afraid of it. In other 
words, face up to the difficulty without becoming all tangled up in it. Gaze 
into the abyss so as to educate yourself about its nature, but don't get 
stuck there or become entranced by its supposedly hypnotic power. I 
think you'll be amazed at how much safety and security you can generate 
for yourself simply by being an objective, poised observer free of 
melodramatic reactions.
My Dad is dying. Yesterday was a good day, today not so good. He was asleep for most of it, but to escape the pain. Yesterday he was engaged and content, sitting in the sunshine with the various family who have trooped over here to share his last weeks and days. I am one of them. This time feels so fleeting and precious.  My father is at the centre of such a tight-knot group of people, and I feel priviledged to be a part of it.

A good life is important, but so is a good death.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Sunshine and lollypops

Ok, so I have realised that quite a lot of what was bringing me down in recent months was the hopeless feeling you get when you don't have the right tools to do your job properly. I have realised this since Tuesday, when I was given charge of large amounts of budgetary funding, and the go-ahead to spend it on stuff I felt was important. Wheee!

Seriously, who doesn't love spending money? Who cares if it's on stuff like dehumidifyers instead of skate wheels or cheese, it's still loads of fun! In two solid and hardworking days the Assistant Curator and I have packed up and delivered 11 artworks to the framers for conservation framing, four artworks to the conservator, with another conservator booked in for next week, ordered two dehumidifyers, and purchased a $1300 vaccuum cleaner to clean our collection starage areas without blowing dust and mould spores everywhere - huzzah!

Things are feeling a lot better right now.