I’m notorious for over-thinking, overanalyzing and basically spending too much energy navel-gazing. This blog is intended to get some of it out of my head. I’ll be glib, sarcastic and flippant in my other posts. Who knows how this one will turn out. It may be a train wreck, so reader beware! If navel-gazing doesn’t hold any appeal or distraction for you, move on. If you’re allergic to estrogen, move away quickly.
My own personal rules are to not to spend more than 30 minutes on any one post. I can correct a mistake if I catch it right away, but can’t go back. If I post it, I can’t edit or delete. I tend to edit things to death and have been known to delete my posts before it’s too late.
If anything resonates with you, feel free to chime in.
Conversation with my son as he ran his hand over the casket:
him: “Mom, this is nice. What kind of wood is it?” (that’s my boy!)
me: Maple. It is nice, isn’t it?
him: Why would they make it out of such nice shiny wood if they’re just going to put it in the ground?
me: That’s a very good question
A week ago, my mother-in-law was alive. She was full steam ahead, baking bread almost every day, visiting friends, chatting on the phone, church, travel, driving etc. She took a massive stroke and died about 12 hours later. She was 89. It was sudden and it is sad, but in my opinion it was not tragic. I hope I am blessed to leave this world in that way. And for the record, she was wearing her ‘good’ wig. She looked like a million bucks.
I’ve dealt with death in my profession. I’ve used gallows humour that would surely offend many, but that others would completely understand. I don’t think those experiences have made me callous, or heartless, but perhaps they’ve made me more pragmatic about the process of leaving this mortal coil. Or is it shaking off the mortal coil? Some quote about the moral coil. I’ll look it up later.
In the last week, my kids have learned a lot about the whole business of death and I’m grateful for the life lessons they’ve had. End of life lessons, really. We sat with Grandma and talked with her in the hospital even though we knew her body was shutting down. Some friends joined us and there was laughter and story-telling amidst the tears. The kids left with friends as the end grew nearer, and my husband and I sat with his mother, holding her hand, praying and talking to her. The body doesn’t usually give up gracefully and we were thankful when she was at peace.
And then the work began. The obituary, the funeral home, picking out an outfit, pictures, phone calls, beer, more phone calls, company and more beer. In her small community, it’s traditional for a ‘wake’ to stretch over 2 days before the funeral. This is when everyone lines up and walks past the casket, says their goodbyes then have somewhat awkward conversations with loved ones. (aka us)
We prepared the kids and practiced some things they could say in return for condolences and we talked about how everyone reacts differently to death. I explained that their father had just lost his mother and that no matter her age, she was his Mommy.
Sister Ada was there. She is 93. She went through the line twice. She no longer remembers us and when I told her that we had lunch with her just awhile ago, she quipped “well I don’t remember, so you’ll have to come back to see if I remember the next time.”
One lady said ‘thank you for your loss’ to each of us in turn.
Some people mumbled their way through, and my husband couldn’t place half of the people there.
We laughed about all of that at the end of both evenings.
The funeral was lovely. Our daughter did a reading and our son was a pallbearer. He told me that it was REALLY heavy and that if he didn’t lift it started to tip.
They saw their father cry for the first time. (They see me cry all the time)
They learned that this whole ‘we all die’ thing is true.
And now they’re learning that the world will go on and that the sun will still rise regardless of who dies.
We all need reminding of those things, so thank you Thelma for the life lessons and the end of life lessons.
9:52 -but I was interrupted.
-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.