Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's Time to Recuperate

I need to relax today. Yesterday, for the second time in four days we made a three-hour trip to Montreal -- that's 12 hours of recent driving, too much of it in difficult surroundings for me. After dropping Butterfly off to be with her husband and MIL on Wednesday, we returned yesterday for the memorial service.

The drive to Montreal between Ottawa and there was beautiful on both days. The leaves are turning gloriously, and the countryside is rather pleasant. I'm not sure which day was nicer. On Wednesday, it was quite sunny, but yesterday there was sun mixed with mist, which was very picturesque.

That's between the cities. However, once you near Montreal, the drive isn't so very stirring. The traffic gets heavy, and the view becomes more urban. In Montreal itself, we drive on an elevated highway that goes through the middle of the city. There are no shoulders, the lanes are narrow, and the amount of traffic is befuddling for a guy who lives in a little town. The traffic signs are all in French, which isn't that hard because est is east, and highway numbers are the same in both languages, but it still seems to take me an extra second to process, which is why veered left instead of right at an interchange yesterday and got myself on the wrong highway. At that point I began to speak in something other than the Queen's perfect English. No, you would not have been proud of my vocabulary for a few moments. But, we were able to turn around and find our way back — thank goodness because we were under a bit of a time crunch.

When all is said and done, we got to the funeral home, which I believe they call a funéraire in French, and we observed the ceremony. I can understand some words in French, and if I read slowly enough may even be able follow the main idea of an article — on a good day. But following spoken conversation or a delivered speech is totally beyond me. However, I didn't go for me, and what I understood or didn't understand was of scant importance. We went to support the kids: Butterfly because she is lost in French and sometimes feels awkward; and The Boy because he is a great kid who has lost his father. That's what family does: pulls together and supports each other.

Cuppa, who is very thoughtful, asked if I might compose a little eulogy to Gilles. If I did, maybe someone could translate it into French and read it at the ceremony, for there would be little point in presenting my English version. Why would Cuppa not write it herself? Well, although she doesn't think so, Cuppa is a fine writer, but it comes more slowly to her. She dithers a lot over how to say things and tends to ramble a bit. I can seem to rattle off something much more quickly. So, she asked me to do it, and I'm glad that I acceded, for it seemed to be appreciated.

I plan to relax and recuperate today.


Gina said...

Driving in bad traffic can be stressful, add to that the fact you are in it to attend a very sorrowful event, and that definitely makes for some relaxation today.

pupski said...

yes somehow language doesn't matter all that much at these things as it is the feelings and the being there that are the main thing. I don' envy you that drive!

Turtle Guy said...

I'm having a recoop day myself. Much-needed and deserved.

I was chatting with my friend Terri in Phoenix, who ages ago sent me those photos of the cacti covered in snow. She had to do a presentation entirely in French and was madly planning and assembling her presentation while we chatted on the instant messenger. I didn't even realize she spoke French, along with German. It has me thinking a language course might be in my future following English Lit.

Enjoy your day. It's raining and cold here, a good excuse to stay in with a cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you glad that we weren't travelling to Laval? Yikes!!!


mreddie said...

So true when you said 'That's what a family does: Pulls together and supports each other'. That is one of the greatest blessings and responsibilities of the family. ec

Karla said...

Mark has some family members who speak only French, and because I am a grade 3 french school drop out, I really cannot comprehend or speak the language very well. If I have found the very few occasions of gathering with a French only crowd a bit awkward, I can only imagine how awkward it must be for butterly at times.

Glad to hear your home and relaxing after a very sad and busy couple of days and surviving Montreal traffic.

PBS said...

Hope you had a great recoup day! And it was good of you to write something for the funeral and that you both could be there for support.

Heather said...

When we were in Montreal, I was VERY happy that Marcel was doing the driving because it would have stressed me out completely.

And I've sat through some of those French services too, having married into a French family.

Hope you find enough time to relax.

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

How good of you both to be so thoughtful as to go clear over there for the memorial services.

My BIL surprised me with his rememberance to my man, it touched my heart. I am sure yours was treasured, too.

Coll said...

That certainly is a fair amount of travelling and a day of rest is well deserved. I have only visited the Quebec country side once during the fall and was completely smitten by the colours.