Surreal…

What a change of tune for this weekend. We had finally organised to have a house warming on Saturday, and mid-week I was informed that my Uncle Jean-Paul had passed away after a long battle with Cancer. Thankfully I was informed with enough time to sort out things so that we could go to Quebec to attend the funeral in time, which I am really pleased about. It would have felt very wrong to have gone ahead with the house warming instead of attending. I do still care about my family.

As mentioned in a previous post, it was my Dad’s Sister’s (Barbara) husband who passed away, he was 65.

This was the first time in 12 years that I have set foot in a JW church & it was kinda weird to do it again. We were greeted at the door by someone who shook our hands & greeted us & then we were on our own. I quickly went to the bathroom, (the joys of being pregnant, all of a sudden you have a bladder that`s as big as a peanut, so you are constantly having to do the dash). I somehow managed to do the embarrassing thing where you end up with your skirt tucked up in your underwear, but fortunately my Aunt Marion came into the bathroom & noticed as I was leaving one of the stalls, informing me before I really embarrassed myself. What can I say, I am not used to wearing skirts, I really love my maternity pants. To be fair the skirt is a wrap around, not a maternity one, so I haven`t quite mastered how to wear it without it looking slightly weird, but I was trying.

No-one spoke to us before the service, not family, not anyone else. A little weird, usually someone will ask are you family or friend, how do you know the person who died, etc. The place was pretty packed, about 200 people in attendance. There weren’t any spare seats, so we ended up standing at the back. About half way through the service, I stole a chair which was at the back, since no-one had offered one earlier.

The service was in French & English, I don’t mean that it was interpreted in both languages, parts were in English & parts were in French. The only personal things that I gleamed from the service about my Uncle were that he had been battling cancer for some time (which I knew before), plus he was a great Ice Hockey & Tennis player & that he loved baseball. There was a story related about him hitching with someone else & the person he was with got very nervous about a case of two-four (a slab of beer) in the backseat – which was highly amusing, mostly in part because members of the audience gasped in response. There was a large amount in French, so there was quite possibly more about him mentioned, but I never really got to learn more about him other than that, which was a shame. But, he was French & Quebec City is very French, so not a huge surprise, the fact that I learnt that much about him, was probably quite good. I had anticipated that the whole service would have been in French.

The service went for about an hour & it seemed like it was more of a sermon than a remembrance of my Uncle, again, I don’t fully understand French, but at least 2/3 was bible based & not directly linked to him. Mostly it seemed to be about encouraging people there not to stray away from the church. There were a lot of scriptures read, a couple of prayers (at the start & at the end) & a song sung just before the last prayer. All of it was distantly familiar, so I had a rough idea as to how the whole thing would go. I still found it sad that there didn’t seem to be very much about JP, but hey, everyone seemed good with it.

Afterwards the only people that came up to us were some of my family, perhaps we were exuding heathen vibes to everyone else, to be fair we didn’t know anyone else there either though. It was a bit of a shock that some of the family came up to us though. Janice (my Dad’s sister) was first, she came up (hugged me & shook Geoff’s hand) to say Thanks for coming, congratulated us on the upcoming birth (yet seemed almost sad at the same time) & then excused herself saying that she couldn’t really talk to me (part of the belief system) but said that she would send Steve over to talk us (her husband).

WOW, Steve is really under the thumb, he isn’t even a part of the whole thing (except that he is married to Janice) & he seemed almost scared to talk to us. VERY guarded about sharing any information about anyone, it was really weird.

Joanne (my Dad’s sister) came up (hugged me) & said Thanks for coming & being so respectful. I blurted out something about how I would have attended granny’s funeral if I had known, but no-one told me & she seemed to understand.

We continued to talk to Steve, mostly about things to see in Quebec & Denis (pronounced Den-eeee – French) who is Joanne’s husband came up (hugged me & shook Geoff’s hand), thanked us for coming & chatted for a while, working out what Geoff did & who he was. They didn’t seem to know anything about Geoff, curious, but not surprising. No-one asked what I do, in fact more people seemed comfortable talking to Geoff than they did me, so I tended to step back, which is unlike me. Normally I would say something to show my existence, but I didn’t, I was trying not to make a scene, again it wasn’t about me.

Before we left I made use of the services again, this time being very careful not to repeat what had happened earlier. Whilst I was in the bathroom, my cousin Tammy said a quick Hello to Geoff & then we hit the town, to see some of the sights of Old Quebec.

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