Turning The Music Down

A week ago today my family and I embarked on an unwanted existential odyssey of grieving. The unwelcome but not unexpected consequence of our clan leader’s passing. In these fledgling days of sorrow, each member of the brood has dealt with this sad event in their own different ways.

Some have offloaded their grief by shedding tears of despair at their loved one’s loss. Others in the family have sought solace through engaging in practical post-death tasks, such as making funeral arrangements and registering the passing. We all, though, share the same numbness that manifests from the knowledge we’ll never again be graced with the company of our beloved family head.

From my own personal experience, I’m yet to shed a tear. Instead my companions are the numbness I alluded to above, along with anger. This fury has misguidedly led to me displaying a more confrontational demeanour during this time of profound family sadness.

I realise anger is a foolhardy emotion for any situation. However, despite knowledge of its futility, not to mention it being behaviour my late father would never countenance, it remains a bed-fellow of my other current emotions of coveting my neighbour’s ass, gluttony and pestilence…… Incidentally, I know that coveting my neighbour’s ass, gluttony and pestilence aren’t emotions, but I’m attempting to lighten this narrative a bit.

This manifestation of my anger isn’t solely the consequence of the old man’s passing. Although an element that adds to the problem, it’s by no means the sole factor of my ingrained discontent. It would be inappropriate to relay some of the reasons, but I can say the strain of living with my wife’s incurable cancer diagnosis for nearly seven years is a contributing cause. 

It’s not all negativity from yours truly, mind you. One positive thing I have ensured thus far is to confront any potential triggers of sorrow. I’m determined not to change my routines for the fear it’ll exacerbate my sadness by prompting an epiphany of the many happy times with Mally.

For instance, on Saturday evening I sat in his leather easy chair in the dining room accompanied by a glass of wine and music CD’s from dad’s eclectic collection. Sadly, one of my regular companions wasn’t able to make it, although I’m convinced I heard him send his apologies halfway through a Sinatra song titled ‘Where Are You?’.

This was a pastime my dad and I regularly undertook; allowing us a window to express our thoughts on topical sports news and current events. Like always, during these occasions he never tried indoctrinating yours truly with his opinions. Instead, choosing to merely broadcast his thoughts, allowing me to choose if I subscribed with his words of wisdom or not.

They were times of serenity, apart from the occasions my mum would open the dining room door and chastise “Will you two turn that bleeding music down!…. I’m trying to watch Casualty!”

Anyway, I was in no doubt this particular trigger would result in me feeling melancholic, which unsurprisingly turned out to be the case. However, I did find it cathartic on some level, by surviving the experience without breaking down. Indicating to me that going forward I should be able to endure even the most sentimental memories of my old man….. Well, that’s the theory anyway!

I did get close to tears at one point. Mercifully, though, this was only a fleeting visitor as I was distracted by mum bursting through the dining room door to exclaim “Will you turn that bleeding music down, Gary!…. I can hardly hear what they’re saying on Strictly!”


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