Saturday, 30 April 2011

The not-so-soote shoures of Aprille

I entered the chapter room of the cathedral with elder daughter (then six), pushing younger daughter (then two) in her stroller. My heart and stomach sank as I felt that old familiar suffocating pressure of barely repressed hatred emanating from Bête Noire (whom I've described in a previous post) who was studying the bookshelves. Demeter offered her hand to his wife who ignored her and greeted the cousins who had entered with us. We retreated to the other end of the room; Demeter was white with shock and hissing her indignation.
"Mama, please..." I whispered.
"They can't hear me."
"Yes, but the girls can."

That had the desired effect and in a mercifully short time, the little procession of family mourners made their way to the front pews. I brought up the rear, coaxing younger daughter along. The Resident Fan Boy sat on the aisle next to elder daughter's first godmother, then me with younger daughter, elder daughter next to her grandmother, the two cousins, and finally the Holy Family (the RFB's term for the Bête Noire, his wife and children). The body of my late father-in-law was escorted in by six of his brother priests clad in their black cassocks, their surplices left off for this Maundy Thursday. We rose, and I turned, then remembering it wasn't a wedding, studiously cuddled younger daughter, using her as a buffer against the hurt and the hostility. She leaned forward, gazing at the lit candles on the stripped altar, murmuring: "Birthday, birthday..." I prayed she wouldn't burst into song.

During the recessional, I held the Resident Fan Boy's arm as he followed the casket into the late afternoon sunshine pouring through the open west doors of the cathedral. Younger daughter held his other hand, goosestepping merrily to Jeremiah Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary. I glanced over my shoulder to elder daughter, whose tears glistened in gold rivulets down her cheeks as the sun caught her face.

Another uncomfortable hour at the reception. The Bête Noire's wife had set up court in one corner of the chapter room, while I flitted around chasing children and greeting whom I could. After a discreet message from First Godmother, who had been aware of the rift for years and who had never mentioned it to either party, awkward arrangements were made for the bewildered cousins to join the Holy Family for drinks at their hotel, then have dinner with us.

I escaped as the crowd dwindled and with relief, stepped out of the side entrance into a soft spring evening at sunset.

Godmother Two had left a casserole, a true sign of love from one who hated to cook to another who felt the same. When the cousins arrived, the talk was of the service, how father-in-law would have loved the theatricality and symbolism of the somber black guard of brother priests and the Maundy Thursday setting. The Resident Fan Boy told of elder daughter's reaction to the stained glass window in the modern chapel, a recent addition to the cathedral: "That's not what God looks like!" On hearing this, elder daughter made a bee-line for the study and emerged some minutes later bearing this portrait: "The good things come from his hands and the bad things come from his feet," she explained.

This is the sixth month I have "Nablopomo-ed", and for four of the previous five, I have gone through the rather painful "Mirror of Erised" exercise of leafing through old journals in search of a kind of unifying theme for the given month in my own November is preparation, February limbo, September transition, and March crisis. April, since it comes right after March, seems to be a time when the crises blow up in my face, or I end up exploding myself. What shall I call this? Eruption? Outburst? Would "effervescence" do? Maybe not.

How about the "outpouring" of April? It's a time of the first thunderstorms of the year here in Hades, a time when, if I'm to learn anything from my journals, it's best not to take too much initiative, since there's that increased risk of being blown sky-high. My next Nablopomo month should be October. In the meantime, I hope to keep blogging, not in a steady downpour, but in intermittent showers.


Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Your remarks about family are always so thoughtful and reflective: I don't know how you deal with exposing so much of your emotions (I'm rather erratic at doing it).

Your efforts at writing regularly as well are also admirable. THough I have been attempting to do the 30 day song challenge, in practice I know I don't get on every day so many have been pre-loaded a day or two or more in advance, which awfully feels like cheating...

Persephone said...

Well, Lisa, I deal with it by not exposing my emotions all of the time (and changing names and irrelevant details to avoid identifying anyone). The daily blogging is similar; I just commit to Nablopomo for one month, two or three times a year. And pre-loading is not cheating; when I post a photo or song, it's often because I'm working on a post that has taken one or two days to write and I'm buying time to finish it. I also make a list of topics ahead of time.

JoeinVegas said...

I like her ability to know what God looked like, and to cut out and color him - very well done

Persephone said...

I guess it's a little easier to do when you're six...

peteraj said...

I'll miss your daily posts and catching up on a few when I don't have time to check. That shouldn't happen so much now as I officially retire at the end of May and am on leave for the whole of it! I'll keep checking and will look forward to your Whovian posts in particular.