Towards the end of my time at school, I would work at a crematorium whenever I didn’t have to go in. There were times when I would tell people about what I did and their responses said a lot about the kind of job that I had.
Of course, it wasn’t that these people found it strange that I was gardening; it was the fact that I worked somewhere that was full of graves and where dead bodies were cremated. At first, I did think it was strange, but as time passed, I didn’t think much of it.
The Main Part
What I liked about it was that I would be working outside, and as I had done jobs outside from a very young age, I knew how to do a number of things in the garden. So, when I was working near the graves, I didn’t really think too much about what was around me.
I was focused on the job at hand, and everything else would fade into the background. Up until this point in my life, I had lost my grandmother (my mother’s mother), but I this took place at an age when I didn’t really know what was going on.
Also, I found my grandmother to be quite cold at times, and this meant that I often felt the need to keep my distance. It then wasn’t hard to realise that this woman was my mother’s mother, as they had a lot in common.
I remember speaking to my grandfather (my mother’s father) before he passed on, and he was talking about how cold my grandmothers mother was. He was then talking about one woman, yet he could have been talking about any of these three women.
It Didn’t Sink In
That’s three generations, and who knows how much further back it went. Anyway, her death didn’t have a big effect on me, and a number of years later, my uncle passed on, after being killed in a terrorist attack.
I had only met him a few times in my life, and a number of those times were when I was too young to realise who he was. This was because he worked in other countries as a hotel manger.
This All Changed
But from the times when I did meet him, I found him to be very different from my mother. He was fairly laid-back, easy to talk to, and he didn’t fly off the handle – I would have loved to have spent more time with him.
A number of years after this, at the end of 2011, my father passed on. This was when I found out what it was like to lose someone who I was close to and who meant a lot to me – it was as though the floor went from beneath my feet.
A Delayed Reaction
It took a couple of years for me to fully come to terms with what happened, and this was partly due to how much pain I was in around the time that he passed on and for a little while afterwards. Once I began to settle down, I started to get in touch with the grief that was within me.
I couldn’t believe that he had gone; I thought that he would always be there. He was unwell for a number for years, but he did what he could to carry on as normal; he was strong, there’s no doubt about it.
A Slow Process
And when I did come to terms with what happened, I felt low, really low. My chest was full of grief, and some of this grief related to the neglect that I had experienced as a child; I often wondered if l would be like this forever.
Fortunately, I was able to come into contact with people who could assist me and information that would point me in the right direction. Along with this, I had to do a lot of crying.
I have had moments when I have thought that my father passed on too soon and how I would give up everything I have created just to see him again. However, I know that there are no guarantees when it comes to how long someone will be around for.
He was in a lot of pain and deserved to be free from the pain that he was in; his time had come. And as strange as this may sound to someone who is not aware of my family background, it was as though his passing had liberating effect on my life.
Nowadays, when I got to this crematorium to see my father’s grave, along with the graves of other family members, I see the place in a completely different light. My days as a gardener there have faded into the background.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
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