Death and the bereavement group excerpt

Death and the Bereavement Group2Chapter 1


Happy is the corpse that the rain falls on.


June 8th, 2011

Elizabeth is looking through The Irish Times obituary section when her mobile phone vibrates across the table to the tune of, “If you’re looking for trouble.”

“Hello there,” trying to sound glad that she’s talking to the person on the other end of the phone.

 “What’s the story in the obits?” She can tell he’s still lying in bed, he sounds groggy. Elizabeth pulls a loose strand of her short blonde bobbed hair back behind her right ear and tucks it in tightly.

 “I just opened to the obituary. Let me see.” She starts to read. BYRNE (née McCarthy) (Ballystrand, Co. Galway) – June 3, 2008. Peacefully at Galway Hospital, Margaret (Margie) beloved wife of William, mother of Joseph, Liam, Lorchan and Bridget. Sadly missed by her sons, daughter, grandchildren Sean, Keiran, Saoirse and Elaine, daughters-in-law Barbara, Mary and Katherine, brothers Michael, Sean and Seamus

and sisters Teresa, Patricia and Anne, sister-in-law Miriam, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. RIP. Reposing at O’Brien’s Funeral Home, Galway Road, Ballystrand, tomorrow (Wednesday) from 5.30pm to 9pm. Removal on Thursday to the Saint Bridget’s Church in Ballystrand, arriving for 11am funeral Mass. Followed by burial at Saint Joseph’s Cemetery in Ballystrand.

 “Too many relatives,” the voice at the other end states. It is an English accent, not very proper, but not impoverished either, a hint of a privileged upbringing.

 “Ok,” she responds and her eyes move down the column methodically.

 “Elizabeth?” he says, making the ‘E’ long and sexy, rolling the ‘’l into the ‘iz’ and finishing with the double consonant ‘a-beth.’ She can hear him rustling between the sheets.

 “Light of my life, fire of my loins.” The breathing becomes deliberate and heavy.

 “Oh, fire of your loins! I like that!” she says and continues to scan the newspaper that has covered most of the surface of the small kitchen table.

 “Vladimir Nabakov.”

 Elizabeth holds the mobile phone away from her ear. Her mouth pulls up on the right side, and her eyebrows rise into a ‘What are you talking about?’ glance. Putting the phone back to her ear she knows she must ask, but she already knows the answer.

 “Vladimir who?” Best to keep him happy.

”Nabakov. Vladimir Nabakov darling. He wrote Lolita? You really must educate yourself and read the classics darling.” He yawns and stretches and scratches himself. She hears everything. Now he’s wide awake.

 “Yes, the classics, that’s it! How’s the passport coming along?”

 “Your new American passport will be at your Dublin address tomorrow. Go on with the obits love. Let me here what our pickings are like?” Eugene is two minutes of foreplay, one minute of sex, and the rest of the day he’s about money she thinks to herself. He was the one who came up with the scam and the rules.

 The rules were simple; a widower with as few children as possible, the less family, the less interference.

 The first step was to locate the widower; gain some information about his work, his family, his bank account, and his house. The house was key. His job was important too, but the house was the deal breaker. It had to be a mansion of a place. Finding that out would probably take a reconnaissance mission to the town. They’d gather some vital information about the real estate market in the area. Let a few of the retailers know that she was recently widowed, was looking to relocate to the town, temporarily for now but with the possibility of moving there permanently, if she liked the area. And it just so happened, she always liked the area.

“Here’s something!” she says and reads aloud. “Maureen O’Shea (née Harrington) (Kiluisce, Co. Galway) – June 6, 2008. Died peacefully at Galway Hospital, Sinead, beloved wife of William, will be sadly missed. “…..and blah, blah, blah, removal June 7th, blah, blah, funeral June 8th and burial directly afterwards at Saint blah blah blah.”

 “No kids?” Here he grows enthusiastic, but holds the orgasm until the facts about the bank account and house proves that William O’Shea is their next target.

 “No kids listed here in the obituary,” Elizabeth says and starts to power up the lap top to do some more research.

 “Are you Googling right now?” Eugene is becoming animated and when that happens, he gives orders, lots of orders.

 “Yep, just turned my computer on.”

 “I can’t wait to see you.” He says and the pause is a beat too long before she responds.


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