Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Smell Of Burnt Wool

I'm a goof ball. And I've been even more of one lately.

I'm not good at dealing with tragedies and find myself unable to say or do the right things. I find that in face of sadness or tragedy, I get goofy.

In addition to my sister in law's recent passing, five of our patients have died since I joined this practice less than nine months ago. I am one giant goof ball now.

The smell of burnt wool in an old church
Years back the small place where I grew up experienced a series of suicides and other deaths. If I recall correctly, there were six people under the age of 20 that died within six months. There were a lot of funerals; funerals we all attended because everyone knew everyone.

I believe it was the fourth funeral we attended. The funeral took place in the dead of winter and the church was old with a very old heating system in form of water or steam going through pipes under the seats that were around the walls. As with older heating systems, the heating was either on or off so it got pretty hot on those seats after a while.

People usually didn't use those seats since the number of regulars in the church wasn't high enough to warrant overflow seats. However, these funerals made the village come together in show of support so every seat was taken, and some were standing.

My friend and I were sitting on those seats when we started smelling burnt wool. Turned out the smell was coming from our wool stockings. We had been friends since kindergarten so by that time we knew what the other one was thinking. Simultaneously we were thinking that our butts were about to catch fire and started giggling hysterically. My friend's mom was sitting right by us and cast us one of those looks. That made it even worse. We were laughing so hard we almost fell off the seats. I don't know if we managed to make it seem as if we were sobbing as we hid our faces in our mittens.

Of course we didn't mean to laugh, and there really wasn't anything funny about the situation. I just think we'd had enough of tragedy. Too many of our friends had died - and at some point a person just can't take anymore tragedy.

I find myself in a similar situation now. So for now I am a huge goof ball and the smell of burnt wool will forever be a time machine taking me back to a funeral in an old, drafty church.

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