A Trilogy Of Tragedy

A Trilogy Of Tragedy
Image: Gothessa

Some of the more eagle eyed among you may have noticed I have changed the spelling of Marc Palombo’s name in yesterday’s obituary. I mentioned all the pranks he played over the years – this was another – he got the last laugh after all.

For years I always wrote ‘Mark’ in correspondence, and when I would say to him that’s how his name was spelled, he always claimed jokingly, It’s spelled with a ‘c’ – the Italian way.” Nobody ever believed him – we all thought it was just him larking around. I knew it wasn’t a joke when I saw the Order of Service in St Fillan’s Church yesterday. Marc with a ‘c’, not a ‘k’ right enough.

Marc’s funeral was beautiful. St Fillan’s was packed out with people having to stand at the rear and the upstairs balcony. I used to go to school along the road from the Church and had walked past it a million times, but had never actually been inside. It’s hundreds of years old and is a beautiful wee church. Not being Catholic, nor by any means religious, I did find the ceremony quite comforting and at times extremely moving.

I hadn’t slept much the night before and had got up and ready to leave two hours beforehand. Unable to write anything, I ended up working on updating my freelance websites to pass he time and take my mind off things.

We left Edinburgh at 8:30am and arrived in Houston, a tiny village in Renfrewshire near where my parents live, where I was schooled, where many of my friends came from, and where I hadn’t been in over ten years, shortly after 10am.

There were a lot of people already milling around but Gail and I went straight into the church. I had been nervous all day – not the right word, anxious or tense is probably more accurate – but when I saw Marc’s face on the front of the Order of Service I felt the first wave of tears behind my eyes.

The ceremony was beautiful. I didn’t get much of it but that’s nothing to do with me, I was only there for Marc and the family not the Mass. Marc’s brother and sister both made readings, and one of his other friends, Lorna, read the eulogy. When it was over and it came time to take the coffin from the church, they played Marc’s favourite song, You’ll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and the Pacemakers. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after that.

We followed the hearse by foot along to Houston Cemetery, where after a short speech by the Priest, Marc’s father, brother, nephew, and sever cousins, lowered him into the ground and threw earth onto the coffin. It’s been a long time since I was at a burial; I always find them harder to take then cremations; colder and more real.

We walked back to the car and Gail drove us to the Royal Bridge of Weir British Legion Club, the place where Marc used to drink with us if we were watching he football or just out for a pint. I badly needed a whisky by this point and it didn’t last long. I’d been unable to eat before leaving Edinburgh, but managed a couple of sandwiches and sausage rolls.

I spoke with Carlo. We did a bit of catching up and reminiscing over his brother, and we shared a whisky in his name. I found out why Hogy, Marc’s best pal who I mentioned in my obituary and also in yesterday’s eulogy, was nowhere to be seen. Not that long ago he had taken some bad drugs and fallen unconscious on a couch at a party one night. He was still lying face down by the following afternoon before anyone thought to see if he was okay.

Hogy’s brain had been denied the proper levels of oxygen for too long, and is now severely brain damaged and unable to do anything for himself any more. To complete the trilogy of tragedies, Hogy’s father couldn’t take the pain of seeing his son become a vegetable, and died of a heart attack only a couple of weeks afterwards.

Before I left, I gave Eva and Benny big hugs and a kiss – the Italian way (both cheeks with back slapping as we always did – and spoke with them both for a bit. My heart really went out to them, but I was kind of relieved to see they didn’t appear to be quite as bad as I thought they might have been. Maybe it’s just not sunk in yet.

Gail and I stayed for just over an hour then headed up the road to stop in and see my parents. We had a quick cuppa in the back garden under a glorious roasting sun, before heading for home around 2:30pm.

And that was it. I couldn’t do much of anything for the rest of the day. In fact I fell asleep for an hour soon after getting back. I felt totally drained and expelled of energy and it was a good way of stopping myself from thinking about it all.

I tried to do some writing in the evening but couldn’t – my mind was totally numb and devoid of anything useful. I gave up and put some music on, ate a small dinner and went to bed with a Frasier DVD around 9pm.

Today, I’m feeling much better. I felt a smaller stab of pain when I saw Marc’s Order of Service lying on my desk this morning, and when I say that, I think I mean it’s probably sinking in I’ll never see the big guy again.

I must try and lift myself through this because I have a deadline today for a blog I’m a guest of tomorrow. It’s not part of the STELLA blog tour, it’s an article post over at Love, Romances & More. The STELLA blog tour is over at Lara Stauffer’s Ramblings of a Suburban Mom today – go and check it out!
Stella by Colin Galbraith – available now from Eternal Press – www.eternalpress.ca

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About Colin Galbraith

Keen runner, thriller author, Madness fan, Mets fan, St Mirren fan/owner, rabbit tamer, outstanding fake faller. Loves cannolis & espressos. #LFGM
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4 Responses to A Trilogy Of Tragedy

  1. Take it easy for the next few days. Grief is a process. You’ll be all right for awhile — and then you’re not. It may well be up and down for a bit. Be good to yourself.

  2. Fiona says:

    Beautifully written. Devon’s right – give yourself time and space to grieve.

  3. Andy C says:

    It is so weird seeing names I’ve not seen for many many years (albeit Carlo and yourself and not Marc) and seeing the places you are talking about in my minds eye.

    The last couple of pieces have been a truly fitting memorial and remind me what a powerful tool the written word can be.

    Thank you.

  4. Outstanding piece – thanks for sharing it!

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