Friday, August 03, 2007

I drank a bit too much at the post-funereal get-together, and today both the funeral and those two horrible weeks seemed like a nightmare, like something I've just dreamed up. It's really tough to have to remind myself it's all for real.

I had never understood those post-funereal gatherings, where food, and drinks, and words seemed to suppress the grieving - but I'd never been to a funeral in my life: papa's was the first one. And it's a good thing we decided to do it the way they do it here. A photo of him smiling, and a few dozen people remembering how kind he was, how he had taught them something about art, music, literature, and, of course, tennis.

At some point, it all started to feel a little like one of his birthday parties, which he adored, in a somewhat childish way. But his birthdays were always messy in a fun way, with mama always late with food, with female guests always helping her out and me cutting my finders off while chopping veggies for the salads in a hurry. Yesterday, everything went without a hitch, thanks to Mishah, and mama spent most of the evening crying.

The song we played at the farewell ceremony is here: Gori, gori, moya zvezda, by Anna German. It's beautiful, and I remember it from my early childhood. When she sings this part at the very end - "Umru li ya, ty nad mogiloyu gori, gori, moya zvezda..." ("Shall I die, you'll be shining over the grave, my star...") - I'm always reminded how as a child I had no idea what "umru li ya" ("shall I die") meant and how it sounded like one exotic word to me - "umruliya," like "magnolia"...

What else... The cause of papa's death is "unknown" - but it was a "natural" death. Because of this "unknown" thing, we had to postpone the funeral till Wednesday, as they had to issue a permission for cremation and that took a lot of running around for Mishah.

As for "assigning blame" and being angry, I think it's both too late and too early for it.

The nurse who let papa leave the hospital - just because she didn't know someone was looking for him, an old man, obviously unable to take care of himself. The cops who didn't do a thing until they got a phone call from the deputy minister of internal affairs.

But I'm too sad to feel angry anymore. And I'm so grateful to the person who has arranged that phone call - if it hadn't been for him, papa's body would've been lying in Obukhiv morgue forever, with no one knowing there were people looking for him.

Again, thank you all for your kind words and prayers.


  1. I wd hope that you use this personal story to exhort others to press for reforms that wd help prevent something like this from happening again.


  2. There is a time for reforms, and a time for grieving. Today, we grief over such a loss.

    From your words I can see it was a very emotional day today. It will take some time before you find your peace. But whenever you find yours, know that your dad has found his peace now....

  3. Thanks, Veronica, for continuing to let us know how it's going. I never met your dad but I do feel like I know him a lot better.


  4. Thank you for being so open and sharing and hope you find some comfort in that your father is beyond is pain and that you finally found him in the end. All hopes, prayers and wishes for you and your family.