Sometimes, the best laid plans of mice and men are for the birds

Tom O’Neil passed away, as you might recall my mentioning, sometimes late last weekend. His family came and have cleaned house, and his dog Patsy will be going to a farm out in the Ottawa Valley somewhere, to spend the rest of her days in comfort.

We, the friends and residents of 250 Davenport were not invited to the funeral services. We’re still not quite certain if there were any (I’ve checked all the major online dailies and there’s no record of his death). Tom had allegedly been a Jesuit at one point, but had not attended a service in years, and no longer embraced religion, and had not wanted one, if you go by what some of his friends were saying.

Still, it was decided that we the residents and friends had to pay some form of recognition to a man who, no matter what people may have thought about him, had left an indelible mark here. Supposedly this was being done with the blessing of Tom’s family. They were even going to provide the flowers and priest.

So when Pamela called me to ask for help organizing a memorial service, I was quick to leap to her aid. Mary, who had been the originator of this idea, regretfully had to return to Guelph to attend to her daughter Brenda, who had just be released from the hospital for the umpteenth time, for varying reasons which will be left out of this article this time round.

The Memorial Luncheon was to be this coming Thursday, March 30th at 13h00. Pamela, has been working extremely hard on this since then, with my offering whatever aid I can. Although I have become one of the new Tenant Reps of my building, I’m still a relatively new resident and don’t have the connections she has. Suffice to say though, I’m really impressed at what was accomplished in such a short time.

We’ve got the cheeses, crackers, veggies, dips, coffee… I even threw in a 6.7 kg turkey, since donations were a tad thin. Pamela has told me that I will be reimbursed, but I’m not really interested in the money any longer.

The trouble started however when we got back from the grocer. Pamela’s mom, Tilly, was the first to mention that no one had any clear idea as to who had been responsible for this idea. I should have seen the writing on the wall then, so it wasn’t really a surprise when Pamela told me an hour later that no one had booked the rec room for the event, and that Justin, the building’s social worker was using it for a meeting.

Well, as tenant rep I figured we could work around this somehow, even if it meant using the library instead if things didn’t work out, but I wasn’t prepared when Pamela called me shortly thereafter to let me know that Tom’s family had bowed out completely, with no apologies, taking the priest, the flowers, and sandwiches with them. Seems they want to leave sooner, and our preparations and time be damned.

I can understand on one hand. No one likes stretching a death out, and some of these people have to get back to work, but why could they not let us know their intentions long before we had undertaken this project?

So, Pamela and I are going to muddle through this somehow. We have no idea now what kind of service we should have, since we don’t have a priest coming (although we do have a 3rd level wiccan high priestess), heck… we don’t even have a picture of the deceased, but neither one of us is going to let Tom’s death go unremarked.

Neither one of us however is going to get roped into something like this again either in the future. Let someone else handle it. We both already have far too much on our platters.


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