Friday, April 25, 2008

204th Post - Karen Begin's/Darian O'Toole's Funeral

I nearly didn't make it to the funeral. I was in the emergency room of the Halifax Infirmary Hospital until 2:30 Friday morning. Never mind why just yet. I'll talk about that later.

Got home at 2:45 and slept for 5 hours before getting up and preparing for my day. For some reason, I thought that Karen's funeral was at 11. Re-reading the obituary at 9:15, I saw it was at 10, so I dashed out the door and drove as fast as I dared to the church, a 30 minute drive from my home.

I sat near the back of the church. I felt a little awkward being there. I was neither a friend of Karen's, nor a family member. An older man sat behind me, who knew the family. He remarked on some of the negative things said about Karen on the web and shook his head. "These people don't know the effect they can have on the family, who may end up reading these comments. Karen is not around to defend herself against them". I agreed, adding that Karen was not perfect, and nobody is. He rejoined with the comment that there had only been one perfect person, and we crucified him.

I don't want to discuss the intimate details of the funeral. It doesn't seem appropriate somehow. I am not Catholic, so I don't understand some of the symbolism of Catholic funerals. A young lady sang part of the funeral. The priest spoke in a general sense about Karen, alluding to her personal demons ("she struggled with her weaknesses, as we all do"). They carried her ashes out for the burial at a nearby cemetary. I have always felt that an interment ceremony is meant for family and close friends, so I chose not to go.

After the funeral, I met Johanna Begin, Karen's sister-in-law. She has posted to this blog. Hello, Johanna. It was nice to meet you today. And it was also nice to see J.C. Douglas again. I was flattered that he recognized me before I had had a chance to re-introduce myself to him. J.C. knows a lot of people, and for him to recognize a humble blogger like me was more than I expected.

There isn't much left to say. The funeral was respectful. It was over within 45 minutes. There was no bulletin for some reason, or I'd put it up for you to read. Don't know why there was no bulletin. First funeral I ever attended where there wasn't a bulletin.

Afterward, as I sat in my car, I reflected on what could have been, and should have been with Karen. Had she sought assistance, had she accepted the assistance offered her at crucial stages in her life, then there would not have been a funeral today. She would have lived to be an old woman, an outspoken, fearless denizen of a senior citizen's complex feared and respected for her caustic wit and asides on the issues of the day.

Her death was such a goddamn waste.


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