Tuesday, May 31, 2011

At A Loss

My host father passed away, and I'm not entirely sure what to do.

My host-uncle spoke to me about the anticipated possibility two days ago, and I mentioned that if it arose, the Chinese girls and I could seek lodging elsewhere to make things easier for the family. He was quick to tell me not to, however, because having us here would help keep life normal for his mom, and it would be very stressful for her to have us all leave.

But now we're in a pickle (at least, I am. I'm not sure if anybody's told the girls what's happened, yet, or if they've picked up on it. I was coming up the stairs with Kim when I saw the brothers in suits outside their father's room. "Fais pas de bruit"). I want to be as respectful as possible to the family, to make as little noise and fuss as possible, and to stay out from underfoot, but these are my last days here, and that's a little difficult. I need to shower downstairs, need to pack, need to pay rent, need to cook at night, and I have no earthly idea what to say to Mme. Bouhet if and when I bump into her. I'd barely know what to say in English, much less in French.

And should I buy flowers? I don't want to pretend like nothing's happened, because that's immature, but I don't know how to go about things. Even though I've lived here for five months, I'm not close to the family, but I can't go anywhere else to give them space, either. A death in the family is a very intimate affair, one in which I have no part, but can't escape. It's the equivalent and polar opposite of living with newly-weds; you empathize as much as possible, but then you want to be out and away because the emotions don't belong to you and are, frankly, a little stifling.

I leave for Scotland in six days. I don't want to leave France, but I will be very glad to leave this house behind. I only wish that I had somebody here to walk me to the train station so I can say goodbye to someone other than the empty platform with the ANGERS sign. Forgive me for seeming moody; it's conflicting to have such a beautiful day outside and somberness inside, on top of conflicting emotions on leaving France/returning home.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my - what a situation. Is there no chance at all he'll recover?

    I think it's only right to recognize what's happening/happened at least a little bit. Perhaps some flowers and a nice card wishing them some peace during this trying time. I'm certain your host mom would be touched by such a gesture.