People’s Museum

Today we had a slow start. Got up at nine (Andrew has a cold that makes him hack and phlegm away, but I won’t blame the late rising on him). We are at Fiona’s house in Didsbury. Have I told you about that? Didsbury is, for those of you following from Melbourne, probably the equivalent of the better parts of Glen Iris. The houses are all, what I think you call semi-detached – although I’ll have to look that up. They are dominating and extremely good looking, and we don’t belong here at all! We have never really seen Fiona, as she’s away a lot, and sleeps in the lounge, so we go in the morning and don’t see her at night. Odd, but it’s a great place to sleep.

I’m under a bit of a cloud today, and I’m sure I’m a bit difficult to be around for Andrew. My grandfather’s funeral happened some time in the past, in Australia. And I was across the world. I don’t know when I was held (I had hoped I could be awake, and be thinking about him, and perhaps praying, at the time), and I don’t know what’s going on where I’m from, at the farm. I feel helpless, like I’m in a big, black bubble of nothingness. I guess it’s because, my granddad meant a lot to me. I felt I had a real relationship with him, even if it wasn’t all the time. I came home a lot, because I wanted to make sure I spent as much time with him as possible, and with my grandma. It’s a five and a half hour drive home, but I made it a lot. I think that, over the last five years, at least, I felt a need to be closer to Grandma and Granddad.

I asked Dad, before we went, what we should do if Granddad died when we were away. He was 98, and he’d had a couple of minor strokes. They didn’t really affect how he was, day to day, but I had to expect that it might happen. Dad said that no, I shouldn’t come back, because coming back would only be to pacify what other people thought. I had been thinking that, depending on what Dad thought, I’d be happy to come back. I don’t think a couple of thousand dollars means all that much, in the end, compared with what he meant to me. But I kind of agreed, with Dad, because I’d already been thinking – funerals are never as much about the people who died, as the people who are still alive. My granddad meant nothing more to me yesterday, than he did ten years ago. So I decided I wouldn’t come home.

But I didn’t expect it to affect me as much as it did. I wanted to do something, so I wrote something. That didn’t quite work out. But I wrote it because it was the next best thing to being there. And Andrew said it was wonderful, so I sent it to the paper. It didn’t end up being published. It’s not important at all, that it didn’t, but it kind of adds to the sense of being behind this big, brick wall when it comes to Granddad’s passing. I know that it doesn’t change anything, because he’s not alive. I know that there’s no heaven, and no heck. I know that he will be raised up again, and I don’t have a chance of understanding, yet, what that will be, or will mean. But I do know that, as a person, as an influence on my life, and in my family, he is no longer taking up his allocated space. When I go home, it will not be to Grandma and Granddad’s. Just like, when I go to the Merricks’, it’s no longer really going to Aunty Chris and Uncle John’s. I miss both of them. And it will take more than a funeral to fill that gap. It will be a gap that’s always there. Because I understand their significance in the family. I understand how Granddad influenced my family – he was a part of making it what it is. It wouldn’t exist in its current form without him having been alive.

So, I guess in the end it doesn’t matter a bit that I didn’t go to the funeral. I don’t really agree with the idea of ‘closure’, and I don’t think that a funeral does it. My thoughts about Granddad will always exist, they will always be good, and dressing up for a family gathering won’t change that.

Although, everyone came – from Bendigo to Queensland – and it would have been good to see everyone!

And to cry, and have someone who understands why, be there when I cried? Just understand it? I think that’s what I missed. But Lindsay texted me on Viber tonight, and we chatted about it. That was good enough.

We’re at the People’s Museum, which seems an interesting place, but again: I’m not one for Museums. See post above. In this case, I’m not particularly interested the contents, either, because it’s about celebrating revolution and protest. Most of my friends will be rolling their eyes, at this point, but I shall carry on! I believe that people are all the same, and they should all be treated the same. I think we’re all in the same boat, and often, terrible things have been done to one group of people, by another group.

For example, terrible things have been done by churches in the name of God – things that He wouldn’t sanction at all. I have no doubts about the terrible nature of all people from all societies. Whenever people get together, they abuse each other. We’re all a bunch of crackpots, if you ask me, the human race. Who would have made it? Why?

But just as I’m against violence to make a point, I’m against protest and yelling and screaming to make a point and get your way, too. Even if you are in the right. I prefer a calm and humble, but strong and forthright, approach. Even in the face of the most terrible and terrifying situations, and against the worst of people, and the worst of treatment. I’m not talking about the behavior I display myself, because I’m a grumpy, angry person a lot of the time. I’m talking about what I think is the right behavior. Ultimately, I don’t think it can be argued, successfully, that screaming and burning and hacking is the right way to go about anything. Even if you are fed up.

There are examples, in the People’s Museum, of people who went about things in really well. William Wilberforce, for example, and most examples of the women’s suffrage movement. But they are interdespersed with loud, angry protesting, and that’s something I can’t abide.

What it comes down to? I don’t like yelling. And the People’s Museum, although it’s a wonderful place to visit and Andrew loved it to bits, was a bad place for me today. It is a dark place (literally – they put the mood lighting down to candlelight), and it’s about abused people, and people who didn’t have a great time for the majority of their lives. And this is the point of the museum – things were a lot worse, and your ancestors did something about it. I would say, I don’t think things change, much. The London riots were about anger, and violence, splashing over, because society is quite often a bad and unfulfilling place. In all times, for many reasons. I agree – but I don’t trust the government, or people, to change it, but God. The People’s Museum wasn’t a good place for me, today.

Now that Andrew’s back, I’m off to an art gallery. 😀



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