The yearly friends party.

As I wrote earlier, last Sunday Helvi and I went to a party in Balmain, Sydney. We have been going there for a few decades now. It’s almost an institute except it is not a formal gettogether at all. Most of us have known each other through all sorts of possible combinations. Either through work, or living in same area, through our children or by sheer chance. You could say we are closely knitted. We generally know our life’s travails including the ups and downs. Lately, or perhaps over the last five years or more we now are steeped in each other’s medical journeys as well. A kind of bonus aiding intimacy. A common question last Sunday might well have been; how is your knee or is your hip holding up well? One inescapable fact is that of the 26 people at this party, there were just 6 men including myself.

We all bring own drinks and food. There was a delicious potato bake, which is always baked by the same person. The red cabbage salad was there as well, my favourite. Then salmon, different cheeses, and all sorts of olives, some hand stuffed with anchovies mixed with chili. It was a very enjoyable day.

Of course parties are held in all parts of the world. I thought I might share with you how in a certain part of Indonesian Sulawesi parties are held when someone passes away. The culture is totally different and one has to allow for that difference. Not just allow, but stand in awe of that difference. I am writing this because one of our grandsons as part of doing his HSC this year was treated to a schoolie trip with a group of other students to Sulawesi. We were glad he went there instead of Bali which is on the verge of becoming a kind of tropical Venice with millions crawling around looking for Star-bucks or KFC’s.

One of our grandson’s friends is from Indonesia so that helps a lot. They flew to Sulawesi’s Capital Makassar, and after an 8 hr bus-trip arrived at Taroja. You might know that in that area many mummified bodies of relatives long gone, are kept preserved and put up a mountain cliff. The Indonesian student told my son, that his grandfather was also treated with that respect, and that 50 buffaloes were sacrificed during the process of his funeral.

National Geographic put out a video on these cultural  rites and here it is;


I am so glad our grandson experienced this on his schoolie holiday. I find the video fascinating.

From Wiki; “For the Toraja people, life very much revolves around death, but not in a morbid sense. For them, a funeral is a great celebration of life.”

How about us, will our funerals be celebrations of lives well lived?

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28 Responses to “The yearly friends party.”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    A very touching video. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. berlioz1935 Says:

    I don’t know how you do it. I learn so much from your blog. Thanks a lot.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    I believe this w is called “wide ranging”.

    I was partying in Balmain or some such place and I blinked and then I was confronted by somebody’s mummy.

    And despite a desire to be culturally sensitive I confess I was shocked by the buffalo carnage . Ok I suspect there was a rather large serving of rendang and nothing went to waste, but hooeee, I nearly fainted when Marlon Brando’s mob murdeted just one buff in Apocalypse Now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I do remember that movie, Therese.

      As for the rendang. We miss the Malaysian restaurant that used to be in George Street opposite Central railway. The best rendang with Kroe-poek.
      I thought the video very good. I am sure our grandson will learn there is more to the world than Morrison and a Big Banana.


  4. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    The party you attended sounds wonderful 🙂
    Thank you for this post, Gerard. The video is very heart-touching.
    I agree with Peter…I always learn something when I read your words.
    I don’t want a funeral. I will be cremated and my kids have said they will have a celebration of my life and then plant a tree or flowering plant and spread my ashes there. I think death sends us on to the next part of our journey.
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The party in Balmain was the best ever. So many people and so many stories. Each a unique life that continues till the end.

      We too would prefer a cremation. We still have the ashes from our daughter and son who passed away a few years ago. It is a great comfort and in a way, they are still with us. It gives us relief of pain. It helps, together with the memories that we hold dear and nurture so much each day.

      We did not intend to keep their ashes but as the months passed and now the years, we are happy to keep them safe and secure.

      I think, when the time comes, it will almost be a better way for our children’s spirit to bury us, the parents. Don’t you think?

      Hugs, Gerard

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Interesting about the celebration aspect of a funeral, Gerard. It just makes more sense. I have a post coming up tomorrow on Mexico’s Day of the Dead. It’s serious, a remembrance for those who have passed on, and it’s a party. It’s impossible not to feel sad when a loved one, or friend, or even pet passes on, but I would much rather celebrate a life than mourn a death. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  6. auntyuta Says:

    We had this celebration of our daughter’s life. She lived for more than 50 years as a paraplegic.


  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Gaby must have been an inspiration and example for others on how to make the best of everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. petspeopleandlife Says:

    One can never party to hardy in old age. Cabbage and olives and cheeses, are just the thing, if one can eat those salty foods.

    Given the fact that women outlive men, as a rule, I can see why the number of men, at the party, was a diminutive shame. One word of advice to you, is to hang on tight, eat sensibly, take your meds,and see you doctor as often as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, So true Ivonne.
      I am going to visit my chemist this morning to get one of those tablet organisers. Helvi has her own already so now it will be my turn.

      I can’t wait to get my own. We can then, each morning, spend time to fill the little box with squares with our pills. At each time previously nominated we saunter to our little pill organisers and solemnly swallow our life-givers.

      Who would have thought? Only yesterday I was playing with catapults and matches and now…so suddenly…the pill-box.

      Still, in our dotage, we are almost back to playing doctors and nurses again.

      Liked by 2 people

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Hee hee. I too, require a medicine box only I don’t use mine much as I usually write down when I take m meds. It is a pain for sure. I take 2 meds in the am and 4 meds after supper. I have a friend that takes around 12-14 meds at one time. My goodness that is enough to choke a horse or be a completer meal. My friend is only abut 71-72 but she is very active and continues to eat as she pleases but that is not good for her diabetes and hypertension. I guess that is why she needs insulin x2 daily. I try very hard to eat only what will help keep BP and the dreaded afib in control.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, Ivonne. My medical regime does need more discipline. Helvi has organized it as follows.

    8 am. The Thyroxene (175 mg)
    9 am. Entresto (24/26)
    10 am Pradaxa (110mg)
    12 am Furosemide ( 20mg)
    2 pm Spiractin (25mg)

    5 pm Pradaxa (second dose)
    10pm Entresto (second dose)

    In between I take blood pressure tests, hardly leaving much time for shopping and cooking.
    Afib is what I have too. My pump is only expelling at 26% which according to my quack is too low. What is your heart like? (Apart from being very good and generous)


  10. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Fascination video Gerard. Lucky grandson.
    It is wonderful how holiday group parties survive as friends coe and go. In the past few years they seem to be dwindling a bit.
    But cheers to the holiday party and may they continue forever.
    Happy Christmas to you and Helvi from us. May the new year bring all good things.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      And all the best to you and Dr A as well, Kayti, from Helvi and I.

      We are so proud of our grandson, as is his mother. He scored a mighty 93 for his High School Certificate. This will open up lots of opportunities to continue studying if that is what he wants to do.

      Happy Christmas.


  11. shoreacres Says:

    The party sounds delightful. There are traditions galore in this world. They’re part of the glue that helps to hold things together, and that potato bake and red cabbage are the most delicious kind of glue.

    I was interested in your comment about how keeping a loved one’s ashes can be somehow natural and comforting. After my mother’s death, it was some time before I could make it up to Iowa to bury her ashes next to my dad. In the meanwhile, she resided on a plant stand, in the midst of her beloved African violets. I think there might have been a time in my life when I would have thought that creepy, but it wasn’t, at all.

    Now, I have Dixie Rose’s ashes. I’ve been offered every sort of suggestion about how to dispose of them, but I’ve been strangely reluctant to bury them, or scatter them to the wind. I finally figured it out. She never went outdoors, and wouldn’t have had a clue how to cope or find her way back home. I can’t just throw her out the door! It’s silly, of course, but still — a little such silliness doesn’t hurt anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      So glad that keeping ashes of loved ones is shared by you as well, Linda, and not seen as creepy. If we ever decide to spread them it will be somewhere in our garden. Perhaps underneath the Parisian daisies. They will look after it and no doubt will grow even stronger.
      We shall see.

      It might also never happen and that’s alright too.Our son’s ashes we carried on the plane back from Koh Samui where we were supposed to enjoy a holiday together. Instead we gave our son a goodbye at a Buddhist funeral.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. rangewriter Says:

    Fascinating video. I know almost nothing about these traditions. We humans are all so very different!


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