Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I am not noted for my patience. Waiting is a supreme test of patience and hopefulness. Because for me hopefulness is tied to plans of action until I know which way the chips are falling, the plans of action and hence my hopefulness lie formless.

Knitting, as well as brushing your hair, can be a makeshift antidote for inchoate, would be hopefulness. A good hair comb smooths the hair and the thinking at least for little things.

But today's waiting is a collection of Big and Little things.

A dear man is waiting for a triple bypass. My sister is by his side. I am thinking of them and have prayers on both sides of the Atlantic flying their way, but all I can do is wait and knit. I am making something for her. By the time she gets it this will be past us. There is no sense in it, but I work over and over the rows. I have ripped it out three times each time making the stitches simpler, as if that simplicity will ensure a return to simpler, easier times for us all.

On this side of the Atlantic, the early news spoke of 2 deaths on the road east of Castletown. Most certainly we know their family. We wait. Early news can be in error. Now we kn ow that one of the people is the son of a member of the local hall committee, so all activities in the hall are cancelled until after the funeral. The funeral of a young person is always so desperately sad that not even the bard himself can compensate for that.

Is there someone else whose family is grieving? We wait.

Waiting is not always without value. Too many young people (and one is too many) have died in road accidents, but the answer is not a quick fix rush to more regulations or more tests or extended time with L or P plates. Perhaps there is no answer, but a patient, more detached study is warranted before action. I may use my fortnightly column in the local paper to explore that topic but now even thinking about it is too raw. I'll wait.

Many years ago as a young person myself I translated from Latin the words of Cicero describing the death of a young person. The words revealed themselves slowly, awkwardly as I did a sight translation (I rarely did my homework, I confess). In this way, the effect of the words if not the words themselves has lingered as I went from child to mother, grandmother and now great-grandmother. Cicero described not only the individual pain but also the upheaval, the disturbance of the natural order of things.

Neither Cicero's words nor 2000 years since his loss has given us any better antidote to that upheaval.

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At 7:05 PM, Blogger Ruan Peat said...

Any News from the US? and how has the village been? I must get over more often...

At 8:53 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Some news from US not altogether good but not altogether bad-either. I remain vaguely, guardedly optimistic, but then that is how I muddle through the world.

At 6:18 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

When I was younger I used to think a big funeral would be a pretty grand thing.

Then I started having to go to some.

It would always be for someone who died way too young.

And I learned.

And even after I learned, I've still had to go to more.

Not entirely unrelated: My Youngest Son told me recently that the best tip he ever got altar serving was at the funeral of a 104-year old woman. Aside from the priest and the undertaker, just about the only mourner was the 102-year old sister of the deceased. According to my son, this lady gave a eulogy that went something like this: "I know I should be sad at her passing -- but I can't be sad. I'll be with her again soon enough."

At 9:15 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

The funeral was a big one. No church in the village was big enough so it went to the biggest church in Thurso. I tried to avoid it --and thinking about it--but found myself passing by shortly before it began.

My grandson turned 17 the same day their overturned vehicle and the ruined bridge were discovered. My heart has been in my throat ever since.


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