Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Months Mind

I don't think I know how that is spelled. Does the mind "belong" to the month? Should it be possessive? Should any of us?

For people who are not Irish, or are not affiliated or might not even be Catholic, the "Months Mind" is a Mass said on the monthly anniversary of someone's death. In fact Kelly's was on the 10th, so just nudging under the month, but that's not really important. What I didn't know was that it was going to be a kind of weedy hench-man of the wake. I haven't really written about the wake on here and at some point I probably will but for me it was a protracted torture, a series of bafflingly, and to the wary eye of the outsider, unnecessarily cruel events. And more of a marathon than a sprint.

There was a Blitz spirit in the Mullan home; a notion that we need to get through this. There are traditions that need be up-held and once again the tea-urn comes out and everybody for miles around turns up and eats neat, triangular sandwiches. I can see how this might work or may be of some comfort if you are aware of the tradition and are used to it, indeed expecting it. I am not and find it odd and difficult. It seems strange that I should be at a commemoration for my wife where nobody knows who I am. But, actually, once I'd girded my loins, it was fine. The family were delightful as always and Mike and Row being over was a joy. It's always good to see her life in London represented in a way that I feel that I can no longer do.

It seems much longer than a month and yet I think about her every moment of every day. I think more about her now than when she was alive, I'm sure. It's all I can do.


  1. To a non-catholic that must have been strange, and horrible, interrupting the natural stages of grieving by having to do this day of being in polite company.

    Am rubbish with doing the right thing with deaths - I was a goth when my grandad died. Wearing black at a funeral seemed to be what people wore when they otherwise wouldn't wear it. In my youthful misguided sense of logic, I wore something I wouldn't otherwise have worn. The bright blue dress did not go down well with the family...

  2. I AM a Catholic and it was still odd, Ms.T! And strange and horrible. But I'm pretty accomplished with this sort of politesse. My talents are few and far between but a blithe hand-shaking is a very big part of what I do.

    I wouldn't have had you down as a goth!

  3. Yep, once upon a time I used to hang around in the drinking dens of soho, the electric ballroom and buy swishy things at kensington market... nowadays I inhabit a skip and forage for plastic trinkets. apparently.

  4. Kensington market? Camden market did for us Basingstoke oiks, though it was powerfully shit even then. But if you wanted desert boots and three quarter length toffee coloured suede jackets it was the place to be.