Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Addressing Grief (part 1) (A Scene from The Sweater Curse)

"Hello, Gwen. You here?" Jay called. He sounded urgent, excited. I went to greet him. We kissed.

"I just found this in our mailbox." He held an envelope. "It's from Blondous."

"Blondous? But who would--? Why? Who's it from?"

"There's no name on the envelope."

"What do you mean?" He handed it to me. "Blondous, Manitoba R0C 0W0," I read. There was no further identification. I tore it open. Inside was a clipping from our local newspaper, the Interlake Spectator.

"Long-time Blondous resident, Olavia Bjarnson (nee Jonnasson), passed away...' " I stopped reading and handed the clipping to Jay. "Please...I need you to..." I fought back tears.

He held me. "Passed away suddenly on Monday, September 7th, 2012, on the family farm. She is survived by father-in-law Gisli, husband Steini, and sons Jon (Gudrun), Valdi (Birta), Oskar (Helga), Baldur (Lilja), Arni and Pall, grandchildren Erik, Jason, Luke, James, Kris, Liam, Jordan, Christopher, Jonathan, Olin, Emily, and Annali. Predeceased by parents Olafur and Anna Jonnasson, sister Svava Story, mother in-law Lara Bjarnson and bother in-law Kris Bjarnson.

"Oli's favourite pastime was knitting. For many years, she volunteered as a 4-H leader. Her fine-hand knitting won many ribbons at the Blondous Annual Fall Fair. Her funeral will be held on Saturday, September 26th at 1:30 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or to a charity of your choice."

I tore the envelope from his hand and burst into tears. I raced into the bedroom and slammed the door behind me.

Through my tears, the postmark was blurry, but I could still read it. October 1st. Clearly, they hadn't wanted me to attend the funeral. At least they'd notified me.

"Gwen, honey, let me in," Jay pleaded.

I held the door closed, but he was stronger. The door slowly eased open, he drew me close and helped me in his strong arms.

"No, not...Auntie Oli. She can't...she can'! She can't," I sobbed. I couldn't imagine my life without her. Even though we hadn't talked for years, just thinking about her in Blondous had always comforted me.

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