This afternoon was the time to say goodbye to Marjorie or Marj as she was always known. I hadn't seen her in the past four years - during which time she spiralled deep down into the pit of dementia. She was eighty four years old.
Her best friend Thelma lives two doors away from us and it was through her that I first got to know Marj. Thelma also kept me informed about her decline. Marj had a wicked sense of humour and I had a nice chinwag with her whenever we met. We seemed to connect. Though she gave out commonsensical wisdom, there was also nonsensical silliness.
Marj never had children though she was married for almost thirty years - up until her divorce in the late eighties. She worked in the steel industry but not around furnaces and molten steel - safely behind the scenes in administration.
She loved to travel and had been to many far-flung places including Mexico, Australia and the Caribbean.
Round about 2010, I noticed that she had developed an involuntary tic and gradually it became more pronounced. She was still driving her little white car but Thelma was becoming worried about her safety. "She's losing it," Thelma confided.
One sunny afternoon - seven or eight years ago - Thelma came a-knocking on our door. Marj had fallen over and couldn't get up. Would I help?
There she was lying on the grass verge like a sack of potatoes. It was a struggle but with a big heave-ho I managed to get her up on her feet again. She really was losing it and the tic was worse than ever.
There weren't many standing on the proverbial quay to wave her off from Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium. Spring sunshine beamed through elongated windows and we were asked to sit quietly thinking of Marj as the sound system gave us "The Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss.
And in that moment it was as if the familiar classical tune became the soundtrack for any human life. Waltzing along merrily to the very last bars with ups and downs, lively sections and dips, speed and slowness and the same refrain echoing throughout. But no thunderous applause for Marj at the very end, just those velvet curtains closing quietly around her beech coffin and the remains of a glorious day waiting outside. See you Marj.
Well. I don't know what that square box means Catalyst. I hope it has got nothing to do with QAnon!Delete
A beautiful tribute.ReplyDelete
Marjorie's life was hard, at least in her last years, and she must have been lonely.
You remembered her, enough to attend her funeral and bid her Farewell.
The Blue Danube is perfect.
*Don't be sad that it's over, be glad that it happened.* (Dr. Seuss)
The distance that the dead have gone
Does not at first appear -
Their coming back seems possible
For many an ardent year.
Coming back does indeed seem possible. Thanks for sharing those lines.Delete
Hope you enjoyed the ride Marj.ReplyDelete
Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! "Yes I did thanks Linda!"Delete
The rest of us will be following you Marj. All in good time my dear.Delete
Yes, the older you become and outlive others, the fewer attendees will be at your funeral, especially without family. I may make a rent a crowd plan for mine.ReplyDelete
If you forward me the airfare in advance I will be happy to come to your funeral Andrew. Then I'll have a week in Tasmania to collect my thoughts.Delete
A very fine and sweet tribute to a woman I wish I had known.ReplyDelete
And if the Blue Danube Waltz isn't the best waltz tune in the world, I do not know what is. When I hear it, I think of the man who taught me to waltz. He was the father of a boyfriend of mine and he gave me the magic of that music, of that flying, gliding dance. He, too, has gone before us, and I only think of him with great respect.
Sounds like a good man who proved there were good men.Delete
A lovely tribute! You described her so that we felt like we knew her as well.ReplyDelete
That is so kind of you Margaret. Thanks.Delete
You have given her a nice tribute.ReplyDelete
She was nobody special and yet very special as we all are.Delete
Nice tribute to your friend . Dementia is a terrible ending.ReplyDelete
I hope that it never comes to call on you or Jean.Delete
The older I get, the more I think 84 is too young to die. When I was very young, I thought 84 was ancient, in those days many of my friends grandparents died in their 60s. I wish I had learned to waltz, or any other dance for that matter.ReplyDelete
You could always put the radio on and dance "The Refrigerator" River.Delete
I like that you went to the funeral of a woman you hadn't seen in four years. It's quite a long time and I suspect most people would feel too much time had passed to worry about it.ReplyDelete
I've been to some very small funerals. It's always a sad sight
One of the reasons I was there was out of respect for Thelma who may have loved Marj. They were together so much.Delete
What a lovely tributeReplyDelete
Like Ms. Moon, I love to waltz, although I haven't done so in years. My favourite waltzing tune is The Second Waltz by Dmitri Shostakovich.ReplyDelete
Poor Marj - dementia is hard, especially when at first you are still aware of slowly "losing it", I suppose.
Can OJ waltz? You could teach him.Delete
Hopefully Marjorie has gone to a happier place now. The music chosen at funerals is a matter of family choice but always sad for those who hear it.ReplyDelete
Nice to meet another 'Thelma' I think we must have been named after an actress of the time.
Do you mean Thelma Todd - sometimes referred to as "The Ice Cream Blonde" and "Hot Toddy"?Delete
She is a bit early, maybe Thelma Ritter, an American comedian. Note we all come from the same age bracket.Delete
Nice post and very nice music.ReplyDelete
I had never truly listened to "The Blue Danube" before.Delete
As has often been said, old age is not for sissies!ReplyDelete
My mother would often say, "It's no fun growing old Neil".Delete
Nice of you to share your kind thoughts about Marj. The Blue Danube is lovely and a fine way to celebrate Marjorie.ReplyDelete
That music made me stop and think.Delete