Four funerals and a wedding
In the years between 69 and 73, I attended four funerals and a wedding. There was another wedding but I wasn’t invited to that one.
The first funeral was my sister Carol’s, She was 12 and she had been in Hutt Hospital since Christmas Eve the previous year. I knew she was sick but I never expected her to die. I thought only old people did that. The funeral was quite small. I remember three things from the service. The first was Dad brought Margaret, my soon to be stepmother with him and Mum’s family weren’t very happy about it, She sat alone in the back of the church, well behind everyone else. The second was we sang the 23rd Psalm, it is supposed to bring comfort but it didn’t. Tears come whenever I hear it even now. The third thing happened at the end of the service when we were standing at the door. A woman who looked familiar came up to my Dad and threw a bunch of flowers at him. Take them she said, you will need them. Everyone was really shocked. Later, I found out her name was Ellen Gray. I will talk more about her in another post.
The following year, the next funeral was Granddad Hunter’s. It was a huge funeral. The church was packed. They put a sound system on so people could hear outside. The crowd outside was about four deep to the road. Among them was J R MacKenzie, the first millionaire I ever met. He owned the stables that Granddad managed.
Nana Alsop died the following year, she was 87 and my best friend. She was buried next to her husband in Naenae. Of all the deaths, this was the easiest to accept, she was old and had become quite frail.
Two weddings took place that year, Dad married Margaret in Tauranga on the 31st of August. I wasn’t invited but later I saw a movie of part of it, Dad really loved playing them walking up the registry office steps backwards, it looked really funny. The next week Mum married Ivan.
I was maid of honour, I found this really pretty apple green dress with lace on top. Unfortunately, I got my period that morning and I was feeling really sick. When I was standing at the alter I turned a terrible green colour that matched my dress and I had to be taken out for fresh air. It was a nice wedding though I was sad, it really meant that Mum and Dad wouldn’t get back together, something I think all kids dream of when their parents separate. Of course in my head I knew it would never happen but in my heart there was a little hope still buried.
The last funeral was my sister Judy’s. Again the 23rd psalm was sung. The service was held in the Karori Crematorium. It was on a hill and the wind was blowing a gale, I had never felt so cold in my life. So desperately sad. It was very small, only close family and a nurse from Kimberley. Afterwards I felt numb.
I had come down from Tauranga with Dad and Margaret. She had a relative who was very sick in Gisborne so we went home via Napier. It was such a pretty city but I was so unhappy I didn’t appreciate it. We didn’t carry on to Gisborne. We went home.
I went back to work. My boss said I shouldn’t be sad, she was in a better place and the world wasn’t meant for people like her. John was also annoyed by my constant tears. He decided that my friend Maureen was much more fun so he dumped me.
I quit my job and went home to Mum in Upper Hutt. She picked me up for the airport, the annual Christmas parade was on so the traffic was really heavy. I feel into another deep depression. I felt my life was over. I could see no joy in the world even at Christmas. But again, no one knew much about mental illness and they just thought it was just grief.
I just didn’t feel anything and didn’t think I ever would again
© Barbara Hart 2014