Pause: A Death in the Family

Today, we gathered to grieve the loss of a family member.

The person who died was a quiet, private man who loved his wife and family very much, and to honour and respect that privacy I will not be sharing any personal information like his name, how he lived his life, and how he died. His illness and subsequent death were unexpected, and shockingly quick, and my extended family is still reeling, still trying to make sense of what happened. He will be greatly missed.

Over thirty people came to the graveside service, and I remarked to my nephew that it was the largest crowd of people I had been part of since before the pandemic struck (he agreed). While we chatted in small groups after the service, an irate Canada goose who had had the misfortune to choose to build her nest and lay her eggs in a nearby empty planter glared at us for daring to intrude upon her personal space. (Canada geese are ornery creatures at the best of times, but especially during nesting season, and so we tried our best to keep our distance.)

A nesting Canada goose (centre), glaring at the assembled

After the graveside service, I headed over to another part of the cemetery, where my father had been buried. He, like the man who we remembered today, also passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving a gaping hole in a grieving family. I was only 21 at the time, and it hit like a body blow. I was in shock for quite some time afterwards, and it took a long time for me to pick up the pieces.

Now, at 58, I just stood there in respectful silence, alone with my memories, listening to the birds in the cool prairie air, the overcast skies threatening rain to wash away the last patches of winter snow.

It’s been an exceptionally emotional day, and I’m grieving, and I’m exhausted. I’m not sure when things are going to get back to normal, or even what “normal” is anymore, so I’m going to be continuing my extended break from reporting on “news and views on social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse”, as the tagline for my blog states.

I’ll be back when I’m ready, when it’s time.

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