February 23, 2012

eulogies in the shower


My sanctuary is the shower…I can burn myself with the hottest water, lean against the tiles and do all of the thinking I need to do (usually with the light off which drives my husband bonkers). When I worked as a counsellor I used to say to the mums that were worried about puffy, sobbing eyes that they should focus on doing all their crying in the shower because a) no one could hear you b) if you splashed your face with cold water the bags under your eyes would vanish and c) it  might be the only time you legitimately get to yourself everyday. People loved this idea, I seriously thought I should do a community service announcement it was like I was a beauty consultant and grief counsellor all rolled into one big dash of red hair.

Edenland posted a piece the other week about your funeral song. The song you envisaged that would be played when people came to celebrate your life….now before I explain my idea Id just like to state that I have no wish to harm anyone. Just saying it. You never know whose reading your blog. Do you?

I confess that when Im in the shower some of the thinking I do is about funerals. Not about my funeral but about people that have left a scar on my soul. I think about what would happen if they werent around, how I’d react, if Id sob, or look blank or just silently give a little thanks to the man upstairs. I think about the chic black dress Id wear, with big sunglasses that covered most of my face, hell in some daydreams Im wearing gloves and carrying a little clutch (maybe I get this daydream confused with the one where I am Audrey Hepburn??). The key to my daydream is the eulogy…Im a big one for speeches. I loved talking at my wedding, I made sure I weaved my story around the central figures in my life slowly ending up at my daughter and then my lovely husband sitting in front of me. Anyways…back to the eulogy (which should never be confused with a wedding speech)

I usually craft the speech with some background music, a bit of coldplay ‘fix you’ or Adele ‘someone like you’ and then I begin. I pay particular attention on the purpose of the talk – a way to capture the true essence of the person, the highlights, the lowlights and all the spaces in between. I stay strong, I don’t cry, I keep eye contact with the (imaginery) people in the congregation and I tell the truth because when in your life can you truly tell the truth about someone? When they’re gone you can speak with integrity and honesty and without fear of retribution or anger…

The end of the song, the end of the speech or the end of the hot water usually finishes my daydream…I remembered thinking that this was an odd way to view trauma and upset in your life but in talking to close friends the gentle art of a good meander through your mind (in the safety of your own bathroom) is good for the soul and good for a bit of truth telling – well it is for me…

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  1. I also recommend the shower to my clients who I see for counselling! Creating spaces (whether the shower, the counselling room, in a park under a tree etc) in which we can express heartache and reflect upon the less than rosy aspects of life is incredibly important. Personally, I find the shower to be a private, quiet, cocooning space to cry. And the sensation of water, pouring over a swollen face and eyes is incredibly soothing.

    Some years ago, a relative of mine died unexpectedly and as is always the way, the house filled with relatives and friends. On one particular morning, my mother went for a shower and could be heard sobbing. I was asked to go through and see if she was “OK”. I declined, insisting that the shower was obviously a space in which my mother felt comfortable enough to cry. This was a very private moment for her and we need not tell her that we had heard her outpouring of grief. I maintain this view to this day.

    Strangely enough, I have contemplated the song I would like at my own funeral. Aptly, the song is by The Killers and titled … Exitlude! 🙂


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Loss, Mental health, Relationships