photo friday: petals

pastel spikeswhite magnolia

yellow seekerpink spike
I went to a funeral yesterday.

It's only the second funeral I've ever been to, the first one in the past 23 years, and the first that wasn't for a family member.

It was for my erstwhile friend, Stu, who long-time readers of the blog may remember from my Camera Club posts. I also went to his 40th birthday party in 2007 and his housewarming in 2008. And every now and again, he'd message me during the work day and we'd go and get some lunch. Somewhere along the way we just dropped out of contact. Not for any particular reason, but we just drifted away from each other.

Which seems to be what happens to me... I'm the first to admit that I'm horrible at keeping in touch with people. Partly because it's often that "out of sight, out of mind" thing, but more so because I always feel like the other person is the one with the busy life, family, responsibilities... whereas I don't really have those things, so I'm happy to hear from you whenever, plus as a general rule, I'm good just bobbing along on my own. Maybe that makes me the horrible friend, maybe that makes me the person where you always feel that you have to make the first move and get in contact... maybe that's true, but it's just how my brain is wired.

Anyway, I got a call from Stu's wife, Mrs Stu, last Sunday telling me that he had died the previous Thursday. He wasn't sick, he wasn't in a horrific accident, he was going about a normal Thursday and was at the supermarket with one of his daughters when he just dropped dead. And the paramedics worked on him for over an hour and just couldn't get his heart started again. So a little bit of a shock.

And I told Mrs Stu that I'd be there for the funeral.

Because it was in the middle of the day, I had to duck out of work for a couple of hours, which just felt weird. But if I'm being honest, everything about the whole situation was weird.

It was also in their church (which makes it sound much grander than it actually turned out to be, it was actually a dinky little building)... while I knew that both of them were fairly religious, it never overly factored into my dealings with Stu, beyond the number of times "someone from church" factored into conversations we'd have about various things. And I don’t' want to say that the service was "hardcore religious" because I only really have one other funeral to compare it to, but there were hymns and a lot of standing up and sitting down and passages from the bible and the minister (if that's what he was, I honestly have no idea) gave this speech/sermon that made me equal parts angry, frustrated and sad... because, well, religion. But, you know what, if that provided comfort to Mrs Stu and the kids, then fine, whatever.

Because of the high religious quotient I never really felt that sad, although the few bits of stuff that was actually about Stu and not religion did affect me a little. It was also strange, although I guess that happens in every situation like this, where while I definitely recognised the person they were talking about, there were both elements of his life that I really wasn't aware of as well as there being a large chunk of the Stu that I knew that wasn't mentioned, and I'm pretty sure there weren't many people in the room who would have been aware of it. So, yeah, strange how a person's past can be so easily compartmentalised or edited or presented that differs from how you knew them.

Afterwards I didn't feel like I wanted to "intrude" into the line of people giving their condolences to Mrs Stu, so I hung back for a bit and ended up going through to the church hall. They had a couple of books of Stu's photos laid out on table, and it was both weird and good to be able to look through the prints, the majority of which were from Camera Club days which meant I'd seen them before or alternatively I was with him when took them (and in some cases, both things at the same time).

I also ran into the guy I mentioned in both the birthday and housewarming posts as "kind of attractive/what was I thinking"... and yeah, I can see both sides of that coin... weird. But we had a little conversation, mostly related to the photos.

When the crowd had thinned out and I could go and talk to Mrs Stu, it was... odd I guess. I don't mean that in a bad way necessarily, but she said, more than once, that I'd been her rock while she was giving her eulogy... and to be honest, all I'd done was happen to sit on the aisle in a place that ended up being in her kind of neutral line of sight. And somehow for some reason, that was helpful to her. Yeah, I have no idea either.

So that was my Thursday, not a typical Thursday by any stretch of the imagination.

And part of the reason that I'm very, very glad that we're going out for work drinks this afternoon (and, clearly, I've written this before we go out for drinks, because I intend to get as liquored up as is allowable on a work related drinks excursion (and taking in my general ease at going from sober to somewhat intoxicated).

It's been something of an odd week all up really... and there have been a couple of afternoons where I've just lost the will to be bothered doing much of anything at work. One was obviously after the funeral, but that was more because my head got stuck in an introspective space... not sad, but I just got stuck in my head. The other was after the afternoon tea for the March birthdays (which was green themed, because St Patricks Day)... we ALWAYS over-cater for these things... so I was very, very much in a food coma for the latter portion of the afternoon.

Much, much later...

Yep, beer is both my friend and really, really not my friend.

We went out for drinks, I drank much more than I normally do, perved on the cutest engineering student with the perkiest, hottest little ass and as usual was one of the last four people to leave. While the walk home sobered me up somewhat, but given that I'm a cheap drunk and I'd had about a third more beer than my average, I'm a little... fuzzy around the edges.

Tomorrow may be a challenge... we'll see.

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