I am 28 years old (28 1/2, actually) with almost 4 kids, and have been married for nearly 7 years, so that makes me a grown up, right? I didn't feel like one this past week. I felt like a little kid that needed a grown up. I wanted someone to tell me what to do, what not to do, and how to feel. How to make it better. How to fix it.
I attended my gram's funeral on Friday.
All I could think about was everything she would have hated about it. You know, aside from the part about her being dead.
It made me mad. I guess that's a normal part of grieving.
At the viewing, she didn't look like her. She looked terrible. She would have been mortified and angry that all her friends and family saw her looking so awful.
At the funeral mass, she would have hated the lady that sang. Though she would have laughed and whispered funny things to us during the mass if she was there. Afterword she would have mocked the lady singing with her hilarious fake singing voice. Then she would have laughed at all of us not knowing what the heck to do because they didn't prepare or warn us of our tasks, readings, or anything at all. The priest looked super pissed the entire time, like we were annoying him by mourning. I wanted to walk up there and slap him and tell him what a devoted Catholic my grandmother was, and how much money she probably gave for the stupid overpriced renovation they had a few years back, and he could just sit tight, shut up and deal with it. And her name was not Geraldine, it was gram. Geraldine was what her father called her when she was in trouble.
The one thing she would have enjoyed was the fact she had 45 cars in her funeral procession. 45!! They had staties blocking off traffic at the rotaries because there were so many cars we were causing traffic problems! The Harley Davidson people came out and saluted her as she went by.
Then we got to this "committal ceremony" bologna that was basically a crowd of cold people whose cars were blocked in, trapped in a stone tent doohickey with a freezing casket on rusted metal casters. No burial plot. No symbolic parting. Some guy who looked like he had much better things to do read few lines of scripture and well-rehearsed lines, and went on his merry way, while the chatterboxes stayed behind and those of us who had children or small bladders (or both...) waited impatiently for them to move their stupid cars so we could all go home.
After all that song and dance, we went back to grams and things felt normal again. We had tons of food, the vast majority of which was not in the least bit healthy, which is exactly how it should be. We sat around and talked, at least 12 different conversations happening at the same time, all over one another. People would orbit around the room, always aware that their center of gravity was missing. But we fell into old habits and let muscle memory guide us in our quest to feel normal again. It was sort of funny, the one epic battle that always occurs at gram's during a shindig, is the battle for chairs. There are never enough. And yet the chair gram always used to sit in remained empty a lot of the time.
The end of the day made me happy. We were all able to come together and, despite the gaping hole in our hearts and in the house, we did what we do: bond. So many hugs, so many smiles, it gave me hope. Maybe things can feel normal again someday. Maybe this giant hole can feel less painful and unfamiliar. Maybe my brain will stop frantically searching for some way to fix it.
I don't know if there's a way to feel better. When my mind forgets, it just defaults to the next layer of hurt and pain. I feel like there are so many layers of sadness in my heart, it's become a robotic device, being crushed by the weight of its own feelings, only continuing to function because of the involuntary-ness of it's task. I just don't know what to do.
People keep saying to focus on the baby. I guess they don't realize I'm giving birth in the same hospital I watched my grandmother die in. I will travel the same roads, see the same sights, and smell the same smells I did as I walked in to watch an amazing woman gasp for breath like a fish out of water before finally leaving this world. But I'm supposed to look forward to this reminder. It's too soon. I don't want to go back there. I wasn't prepared then, and I'm sure not prepared to face the memory now. It's too much. All of this is too much. I am completely overwhelmed. Any of my family that comes to visit me in the hospital will face the same thing, too. I don't blame them if they don't come.
It's sort of weird, you know when you experience something and you want to tell someone about it, and there's always one or two people you know would be genuinely interested, so you make it a point to call them first? My brain keeps thinking of calling my gram to tell her how her own funeral went. I know she'd want to know. Except she's not there. She'd have so much to say about it, so much to giggle about and so much input. I wish my brain would stop thinking of her as the first person I want to call. It hurts when I remember she's not there to talk to, and never will be again.