Once upon a time when I was very young, similar to everyone reading this story, I encountered states of being that adults felt inclined to explain. The fact that honest and cursory explanations would suffice, later added into my mind settling into this growing human frame, were often overlooked.


You see, when a child is faced with a body lying motionless, lifeless, nothing more than a simple explanation would suffice. Maybe, grief is a consideration, but it is not the shield for deceit. And, as time went bye, I was left to determine the state of being encountered along the way, in a timely fashion.


Yet, another timely incident after emigrating to another country, for Death takes no holiday, as I was want to learn.


I was in my late-teens having met and befriended a school-mate and his family. What was unusual, as an aside and a part of my Life’s flow, was that this friend was of an origin similar to others who had dealt with me in a bigoted manner upon my arrival in this new country. I was attacked, defended and befriended by immigrants from Italy, which was an extension of experiences in family relations. I decided this was a lesson, that family and friendships are the two sides of the same coin.


On one particular weekend, Rocco invited my family to partake in a celebration with his family in their home. It was a festive time and we were enjoying each other’s company and having great fun, bonding as some would say. I had my first taste of Italian home-made wine, and succumbed to its measure. I was given a room to sleep a spell, while everyone else frolicked and played throughout the home.


In time, I awoke and joined the ongoing festivities. The day progressed into evening and our invitation drew to a close. We said our farewells and expressed our gratitude, and made our way home.


Time passed, two-weeks went very quickly, during which time Rocco informed us of his younger sister falling ill and being hospitalized to undergo surgery. Another first in a slew of firsts I was to encounter during my Canadian Orientation Phase. What I was not prepared for was the news, another other first that followed. There was a complication regarding the surgery, unclear/forgotten now, to which his little sister succumbed. I was stunned, my mind went numb with an unknown emptiness, and another first followed.


Rocco made an unexpected request, something I was honoured to accept with profound sadness and respectfulness. At seventeen/eighteen, I was to be a pall-bearer at his younger sister’s funeral.


The day came/went, a bitter-sweet experience I’ll always remember, with cultural nuances imprinted biased in loss and sadness. There was one surprise of a physical nature, the weight of the coffin. In spite of our numbers, I was not expecting the weight of that coffin while reflecting on her age and size while we all played on that festive day. We descended the steps of the church, placed the casket in the hearse bidding a sad farewell and went our separate ways as that saddened day passed bye.


Thereafter, contact with Rocco becoming less and less frequent, becoming but a memory fading into memory.


10. A Special Occasion '65

In transit


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