29 July 2009

Up And Down

Last Thursday (23 July) was my first dance lesson for the term. I wasn't expecting my Advanced I dance exam results (they don't usually appear until 2-3 weeks into the term), but appear they did...and I passed. I received the grade of Commended, which was the same as last year (although my actual marks were a little lower). And yes, I'm happy (although I would like to do better next year).

If you're wondering why I am not dancing around with glee over passing there is a reason. When I arrived home from the class I realised that I had missed a call from one of my grandmother's cousins. (Thursday being the first anniversary of my grandmother's passing.) I immediately rang her back and apologised for missing her call. Her response: 'I was shocked that you might be out.' I still don't know how I feel about that comment. I'm sure she meant well, but... And I'm confused (and concerned) - should I have stayed home and not gone to dance class? Have my slighted my grandmother and various family members for doing so? And how is one meant to remember family members?


  1. Putting aside that different ethnicities and cultures have different ways of remembering as well as celebrating their ancestors, I personally have never understood the need that some people have to mark the occasion of the anniversary of someone's passing. I think that in many ways these type of practices are more about the living than they are about those no longer with us. They are part of the grieving process.

    I have only ever acknowledged the anniversary of one person. This was for my beloved Pop, my grandfather; however, I did it for various reasons. He was the first grandparent I had lost. He was the bastion of my father's family. He accepted me entirely for who I was and what I did. Also, at the time, my Father was living out of state and I knew that he would have liked to have visited his rememberance site to acknowledge that a year had gone so I also did it as a representative of my family.

    Since then, I have lost both my grandmothers and I know that they as well as my Pop, although being touched, would be pissed off by myself and others not celebrating the lives we have and had with them as opposed to the day of their death. Me, I rather raise a glass to them at Christmas or on their birthdays to celebrate their lives, than focus on a day of such sadness.

  2. "How is one meant to remember family members?" By living your life to the fullest.

    I am very sorry that your family may be making this harder on your than it needs to be--often people from older generations have different ideas (marking anniversaries by making oneself miserable was rather popular among some members of my family, for example) but this is YOUR life, orannia, and you have every right to celebrate the life of the people who have loved you (as well as those who love you now) by doing things that fulfill you and make you happier.


  3. (((Kris))) (((azteclady)))

    Thank you. I do perhaps think it was a generational thing...and I don't think the person who made the comment meant it to affect me as it did... It just pulled me up short and made me think. I actually remember all three family members I have lost recently in a myriad of ways and on many days. I see something or hear something and want to tell them. And maybe that is the most important thing to do...

  4. We just had the same "drama" in my family. The 6 mos anniversary of my grandfather's death was just this Sunday. A mass was held in his honor and not all family members showed... recriminations and tears ensued. It was so out of control and not anything he would have been pleased by.

    My personal belief (which I couldn't express to the family, as they only understand over the top behavior) is that however you acknowledge that day is the right thing to do. Grief and rememberances shouldn't be measured and compared. It's a personal thing and no one should be judged in how they express it.

    My grandfather is not less loved by anyone because they chose not to attend, and I'm sure you don't love your grandmother less because you went out. Don't doubt what you feel or how you choose to live your life.

    No one knows what grief we feel or how we choose to display it but ourselves.

    Many hugs...

  5. Sometimes older people have a certain way of thinking, more old-fashioned. Doesn't mean it's better, or worse, just different. No one should expect you to stay at home and wait around the house. You have a life too.

    And that's how I think your family would want you to remember them: by going about the business of living.

  6. (((Mariana))) I'm very sorry to hear of your grandfather's passing...and that there have been family difficulties. You said something in your post that really spoke to me: Grief and rememberances shouldn't be measured and compared. It's a personal thing and no one should be judged in how they express it.

    I'm an intensely private person. I don't show (or understand) emotions easily. I think a lot of people have been confused over my reactions when various family members passed away...but I fought so hard to keep them here... I don't think they realise what I feel because I don't express it. Some people prefer an overt display...my grief is private. Thank you for putting into words what I've been thinking :)

    (((Stacy))) Thank you! And you're right - not better, not worse, just different. I guess it comes down to what feels right for each person. My grandmother used to love going to my dance recitals...and she loved watched Dancing With The Stars. And I think she knew how I felt. *wipes away tears*

  7. First off, kechara, congratulations on passing the exam - I'm so proud of you and I know how you worked for that pass - well done.

    With respect to the reactions from your grandmother's cousin - everyone else has already said everything I thought of saying, so I won't repeat it, other than to say that yes, you have every right to celebrate and remember however it works best for you.



  8. YAY for passing!! I’m so happy for you.

    And I’m sorry that your feeling conflicted about your Grandma’s anniversary. I think everyone has pretty much already said it so all I’m really going to say is (((((HUGS)))))

  9. Thanks orannia! It was a relief as he had been in pain for a while. It's hard to see a loved one in such pain, it's almost a blessing to see them go. He had a good life and that's all one could ask for.

    I hear and understand you; we seem to be similar with the private emotions. I hope you are feeling better ;)

  10. Thank you LeeAnn - for the congrats and the hug :)

    (((Mariana))) It is hard. And you feel guilty for wanting their suffering to end, yet at the same time you don't want them to leave... Emotions, even the good ones, are never easy.

  11. Grief and rememberances shouldn't be measured and compared. It's a personal thing and no one should be judged in how they express it.

    I totally agree. It is almost a year since my Dad passed away and I miss him and think of him and privately grieve for him just about every day. While we were very close when he was alive, I don't plan on doing anything different on the day of the anniversary. Dad didn't like a lot of fuss and in a lot of respects was a simple man and he wouldn't be interested in having anyone do anything to mark the sadness of the occasion. I keep Dad alive in my heart and in my memories and concentrate on celebrating the life that was rather than openly mourning the life lost.

  12. Congrats on passing. And, that was an odd (slightly rude) comment from your relative. Everyone else has said it so I'm just reiterating. People have a right to grieve any way they choose and I'm sorry that you even had to question yourself :)

  13. The comment made to you was insensitive. The question I always ask myself on this type of "anniversary" is: "Would (the person who has passed) want me to stay home and grieve today?" I've lost several people I loved very much in life, but the answer to that question is always no, because the living are meant to do just that. Live.

    Congratulations on passing your dance class!

  14. I keep Dad alive in my heart and in my memories and concentrate on celebrating the life that was rather than openly mourning the life lost.

    (((ShellBell))) I think that is a wonderful way to remember a loved one!

    Thank you Lisa! And I don't think my relative's comment was deliberate, but yes, it did (obviously) have me questioning my grieving process...but I guess the operative word there is 'my'. And just like everything else, members of the same family can be different when it comes to grieving.

    Thank you Lisa. And yes, my grandmother would rather have me out on the town, of that I am certain!