Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm here but not here...

Snowmaggeden. The media loves their sensationalist tag lines and that's what their calling the storm here in the east. I'm in Toronto right now, typing from my sister's laptop (so no pictures for your viewing pleasure). I've been trudging through the snow today and while I think the intensity of the storm is a bit of an exaggeration, I'm a bit panicked when my plane leaves in 2 days I may get stuck sleeping in the Winnipeg airport before Christmas. Now if they could just divert the plane to Costa Rica for a few days... Any suggestions for ways to pass the hours at an airport? Maybe I should take the opportunity to learn origami or juggling.

I went to my father's funeral today. It was rough, but made a little easier by seeing childhood friends of family and being together with my siblings. Surprisingly, an old Estonian Baptist minister (almost an oxymoron, Estonians are notoriously moderate Christians, if at all) who was the only one available to do the funeral, made it easier by being a bit wacko. Very little talk about my dad, but lots of preaching for us to make sure our souls are saved. He was odd, with no talent for metaphors, a few were just too weird for me to remember. His 'loopiness', as someone remarked, made the experience annoying enough to distract me from much sadness. But I am grateful my brother, Victor and sister, Karin, spoke about my father, mentioning his amazing kindness and patience and I just want to hug them again for their wonderful words.

Grief works in strange ways. All week, I haven't been feeling much more than stress. I've been busy trying to prepare myself for the trip out here as well as prepare my husband for his brief adventure in single parenting.

Me to my daughters:
" Be good, make it easy for dad, but not TOO easy. I don't want him to think it's all easy. can beat each other up twice, and Olivia, never stop asking for a puppy."

I've been too busy and exhausted to grieve. I had 3 hours of sleep on Wednesday before leaving for the airport at 3:00am. Just before boarding I realized I left my drivers license in my other purse. The airline staff said they couldn't let me on, but could book me on a flight later the next day once I had my ID in order. Only then did I finally lose it - cried, sobbed, explained I had to get to my fathers funeral, and sobbed some more. So they relented. 11 hours later I arrived for what normally would be a five and half hour flight, but my luggage was left in another city.

Things are much better now, I have clothes, a toothbrush, the funeral is finished, I'm looking forward to going home and hearing the familiar sounds of kids screaming, the dogs barking, the hamster OCD'ing on his plastic wheel all night... I'll be back online, back to myself in a few days.

Thanks to everyone for commenting, emailing and phoning their sympathies, that meant a lot.


andrea said...

Yeah, but what about NABLOPOMO? FAIL!

(Just trying to lighten the mood. And those who read my comment try not to hate me. Too much. I've already exchanged emails with Ellen.)

dinahmow said...

I was going to be similarly flip. But that Andrea's a hard act to follow!
And anyway, I thought the travelling sketchbook was travelling with you? Bugger the turbulence - I'd love some atmospheric shakes in MY book!

OK silliness finished.
Take care, Ellen

Ooh, wv is prousto. Now Proust would have come in handy!

self taught artist said...

so sorry ellen for your loss. not much i can say other than that, its such a personal thing yes?
glad you made it through the airport, i would have lost it then too!

katie jane said...

Oh Ellen, travelling is such a distaster, not to mention travelling for a funeral. I feel so bad for you. I'm glad it's all behind you now. I hope you get home OK and in time for Christmas. Things will get better, I promise.

my croft said...

Here you go Ellen -- airport karaoke

get home safe, my corvid-loving pal. sending you warm thoughts.

[the wv -- it has the feeling of a salute]

Caroline said...

Yes learn to juggle at the airport - at least you might earn some pennies from people...

And now I know who put the fun in funeral - I've always wondered about that... mind you I got almost uncontrollable giggles at my mother's... the minister hadn't known her in life and relied on what I and my sister had told him... unfortunately he started with:

We're here to celebrate the life and mourn the death of Gillian... no lets call her Gill...

She HATED being called Gill!

I hope your journey home is smooth and uneventful and that your girls have taught their father well.

Mindy said...

You don't know me, but I've visited your blog before. Having attended a funeral recently, I understand the chaos of emotions that surround the so-called event. I won't offer any cliched comments. Grieving is such a personal process and I wish you Godspeed on your journey.

Ellen said...

andrea: I think I need to play the sympathy card for a little while longer ( and thanks for the emails)

Dinah: not much turbulence surprisingly, just lots of waiting and waiting in and around airplanes, which would have given my plenty of time to sketch, but I'm terrible with people looking over my shoulder when I draw. I have big performance anxiety.

Paula: thanks, had a copy of my drivers license to show on the way back, blown up to a full sheet, geez, I thought those pictures looked bad small....

Katie: thanks, I'm doing fine. Looking to forward to a nice Christmas with family.

Melanie: Thanks and for the link too! All this snow everywhere motivated me to feed the crows again, which I stopped doing for a while, because they've been inviting too many friends to join in and it became a little Hitchockian on my cul-de-sac, I think the neighbours were a bit creeped out...

Caroline: It's true, if you weren't a big church goer (my dad was not at all) that's the price you pay at your funeral. The minister at my dads funeral kept calling him Mr.X! meaning he didn't know him at all.

Mindy: thank you. It's true, grief is personal process, it really did matter that he lived a long life and was content. It makes everything easier.

patricia said...

Oh dear. Now I'm really sorry I've been away from your blog.

So sorry about your dad. And about the horrific travel experience! But at least you were surrounded by family and friends.

My dad is 80, and quite frail these days. I think about losing my parents a lot more now. But no matter how much you think about it, I don't think you're ever ready for it.