On Thursday when first learned of Queen Elizabeth II’s death I did what I usually do. I began to write. Within about an hour and a half the blog that proceeds this blog, the one of September 9, 2022. It was sent to Computer Guru Chris in the UK. He had not posted a prior masterpiece, now he had two to post on the Internet for folks to read. What happened next? Nothing. Nothing and still nothing. My panic grew as this was a timely piece. Usually it does not matter but at this particular moment – it did. All the Instagram folks were doing their ‘thing’ -the speed of the contribution made possible by its simplicity, just a picture of the Queen with her date of birth and date of demise, barren of comment. But mine was a masterpiece – if I do say so myself. There was a sense of history, of perspective of my own impressions and my sadness. It was an attempt to put both her and my life into perspective Email pleas to Chris increased in number and intensity, with me trying my best to remain calm, cool and collected. This means calm and composed, self possessed. The last word in this traditional phrase is “collected,” in the sense of such phrases as “let me sit down a minute and collect my thoughts.” If you leave out “cool” the last word still has to be “collected’. Common synonyms are: composed, cool, imperturbable, nonchalant, and unruffled. Personally I prefer nonchalant. But I was becoming the opposite: agitated, anxious, discomposed.
The subject line of the final email: We Need to Have a Back Up Plan.
Me: We should have had one in place actually. This is a wake up call. Alexis
Finally a response was received.
He: Hey Alexis, everything is up and posted. I managed to drop my phone and smash the screen so I was unable to check my email, plus obviously we are really quite distraught over the loss of our wonderful Queen. Love, Chris Clare, and not Beryl (dog)
Me: Darling, as grief stricken as I am over the death of the Queen I do know that Beryl is the dog. You are the guy and Clare is the woman and Beryl is the dog. The question is – who am I??? The Sheikha??? Those lazy Instagram people with a stolen photo with the date of her birth and the date. I shall now announce that they can do some serious reading. Okay, Beryl, love to you too. We know the Queen loved her dogs and they will miss er a lot. Your family is still with you. Please be grateful.
With considerable relief saw that it was indeed posted but was missing the two final paragraphs, the purpose of those paragraphs was to explain the who, what, and why of the two attractive women pictured in the photograph that accompanied the blog. A fast flying email solved that problem. PHEW.
It has been such a difficult week, what with the Saskatchewan murders and now the Queen’s death. The appropriate response to these events was sorrow and reflection but there did need to be some relief, I determined. It should be ‘’comedy time, therefore a funny blog emerged from my flying fingers. However, it was abandoned because it seemed a sacrilege to be laughing at such a time. Sacrilege is a desecration, profanity, profaneness, impiousness, sin, irreverence, i irreligiousness, godlessness, unholiness, disrespect. So I put the brakes on, placed the draft on an upper shelf (so to speak) letting stand, for a day or two, the informed blog telling of Queen Elizabeth’s death and its impact upon me.
There is a rather quaint expression being in touch with your feelings. Its origin must be from the 1970’s when that was a goal. That of course is not longer true – distancing oneself from any feelings whatsoever is the motto of these times. Found that I was still, and increasingly reeling with the loss. The Queen profoundly said: Grief is the price we pay for love. Never has that been so true when people all over the world realized in their grief that they had loved her. Well, I did anyway – me who has spent a lifetime being ‘in touch with my feelings’
The joking blog was abandoned, the day cool and bright so I decided to go for a walk in the neighboring Legislative Grounds. What followed was miraculous, highly improbable and extraordinary and bringing very welcome consequences. You shall follow the events that transpired through the photographs snapped on my iPhone.
Near the entry to the Legislative Grounds a flower bed welcomed.
Me: Look at those beautiful flowers, I do know their name.
Alter Ego: Think hard, I am sure you will remember.
Me: Oh yes! They are impatience.- that is funny because that is what I am – inpatient. I think I shall take a photo of them
So I did and in doing spied a family walking from the building. The older woman’s hat was beautiful.
Me: Hello! I love your hat.I am taking a picture of the flowers as they describe me.
The family and myself entered into a conversation. The parents from the Philippines were visiting their children who had emigrated to Canada ten years before. The father gave me his business card and after a long fun filled chat he asked that we pose for a selfie.
Me: I do not think there is anyone living in the Philippines. There are tens, if not hundreds, in the UAE and so many here in Canada. You are blessed to be in Canada – in the UAE working conditions are inhuman, there is no chance of citizenship and after slaving for years when one reaches a certain age workers are forced to leave with no retirement benefits at all. Canada is a totally different story!
They: Yes! We are so fortunate to be living in this country.
Me: Me too! I was born here but lived elsewhere most of my life – my stay in the UAE short lived.
They: We knew of conditions in the UAE
Me: Somehow I did not. I guess because I had been living in the USA where conditions in other countries is seldom discussed. Oh well, I could escape with my Canadian passport.
Then they gave me the news.
They: We just came from signing a Book of Condolence honoring the Queen. The Legislative Building is open for that purpose.
Me: Thank Goodness I spoke to you! Otherwise I would not have known.
Off I went, gained entry through the West Entrance. Most familiar with it as that is where I enter for breakfast in the cafeteria and visits to the library.
The experience of entering the building, speaking with the devoted and kind staff, signing the Book of Condolence weeping all of the time was so cathartic, so healing. I marveled, speaking to the staff of my good fortune.
Me: I am so fortunate to be here now and to have this experience. If I were still in the UAE or had remained in the USA I could not have had this opportunity. Thank you so much for working today and being so kind, caring, understanding and considerate. Such graciousness would not be possible in either the USA or the UAE.
I respectfully inquired if I could take a photo of the table where members of the public were provided with pens, books and Kleenex. The picture was posted on Instagram with the following caption.
I signed the Book of Condolence to Her Majesty at the Alberta Legislative Building. Staff were there with kindness, condolences and Kleenex. I needed the tissue, I wept. So glad to be home on this tragic day. Shall write more on my blog later.
I have had 11 likes so far. I have 828 followers, so what does that say??? I sent messages to many who liked the entry. The first a wonderful young woman who lived in the dreaded and discriminating Marin County apartment complex that I fled in November of 2021. She was the first responder, we laughed together as usual Another, a woman I have never met who lives in the UAE – she from England, her husband employed in the UAE.
Me: Thanks for liking my photo of the condolence book. It felt so great to be here in Canada at the time of the Queen’s death. The mourning is universal in this parts and there is a way to pay your respects.
She It’s very sad, isn’t it. Been glued to the news all weekend! Feel like its the end of an era. She was my Queen, my mothers Queen and my Grandmother’s Queen as well as my young nephew. She inspired so many generations, very sad times.
Me: My statement to a friend on first hearing of her death was that it was the end of an era, the same words as yours. I did not expect her death to bother me. I am surprised at my grief. I too an glued to the news.
She: I’ll be looking forward to reading your blog. Best wishes to you dear.
How healing and cathartic was this interchange!Cathartic provides psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions. Some synonyms: purifying, cleansing, relieving, freeing, ridding, abreactive. The antonym is repressive. So speaking, using Instagram with a woman temporarily in the UAE was abreactive. Definitely that has to be the big word of your day.
More perhaps later about the orderly and respectful succession of power. The United States of America has so much to learn and never, in my pinion shall. God Save the King. King Charles III.