Personal tragedy and socialismI have just come back from the funeral of a young friend of my older son. The dead boy was 26 years of age and he was found dead of an over dose on Saturday 21st. There were over two hundred people at the service which was held out in the open in the cemetery.
My boy was one of the pall bearers. He and the dead kid, K., had recently been on a drinking bender together. Two full days of self destruction. I had been very short with K. blaming him like most fathers for being a bad influence. He had tried to say something intelligent to me but his brains were addled. He also looked like shit. The heroin was destroying his teeth.
There were rumors that he had got off the "H" but they were to prove unfounded.
We all gathered in the hot Qld sun around the grave and a short service was held. Someone brought a painting of K. and set it up by his grave. In the painting he looked very pretty and apparently he had been a great one with women. He also wrote a lot of poetry and one of these was handed out with a hymn sheet. Some young women sang songs and read poems. The boy's brother spoke very haltingly and with great pain. He tried to rescue something from the awful mess by saying that at least K. had lived and now he was free.
There was a New Age feel to all the sentiments. It's as if one were reading or listening to Jim Morrison's lyrics. These were really the children of the 60s generation.
Then towards the end a minister spoke. He was initially apologetic because he had known K. very well, but then he launched into a sermon based on belief in the bible. He talked of Abraham and his trouble with Lot, of Job saying, the lord gives and the lord takes away. Blessed me the name of the Lord. He also mentioned Jesus' stoical suffering. there was talk of endurance and patience and also of our sins.
We started the hymn which was
"Bow done thine ear to me
I was shocked by the number of people who seemed to know it. It was of course only the older ones who were singing.
We then finished with an old man leading a rambling prayer with more talk of sinfulness.
The young people reemerged to place roses on the coffin and then we broke into groups. I went over to say good by to my son and he was embracing the boy's father. They held each other for a long time and sobbed long and deeply. I was very moved. I always am when heterosexual men are decent to one another. It is so rare.
I then went over and talked to S. he is another of Ciaran's friends, but he is a worker and is determined to become a militant and fight back. He wants to expose yeat another dirty deal that the union bosses have made.
He complained to me about the Christians. I said they were the other side of the New Age types. Between them they spiritualized the whole affair and never once mentioned heroin.
I was angry about it all. Mostly against the Christians. I hate their smugness, their stup