Mother’s family, the McFee clan—Scottish Presbyterians all—have a somewhat casual relationship with death. Some may call it ghoulish. We call it an old family friend—someone who occasionally drops by only to be encouraged to leave as quickly as possible.
My grandfather lived at Horizon House with his two brothers, Joel and Donald, and his sister Jean. When Grandpa died, the nurses went up to my Uncle Donald who was eating lunch. “Oh, Mr. McFee, we’re so sorry to tell you that your brother has died.” He didn’t bat an eye. “That’s OK. I have another one.”
It’s not for lack of feeling. This was and remains a close knit, intensely joyful family. It’s just that overt sentiment is not encouraged.
Many years ago, I asked Mom why the family never held funerals or memorial services.
“You know, Mom, there is no real evidence that any of you have ever died. I suspect that when you hit 95, you just go back to Scotland to play golf.”
She answered quite seriously. “Well, it’s considered showy.”