Sometimes I really hating coming up with "titles" for posts.
Seriously I really do hate titling things sometimes...I have been a bit absent over the last week from the computer all around. Sometimes it's hard to share the stuff on here I know I need to..I keep this blog for my kiddos. One day when I am long gone they will have their childhoods pretty well documented even if I am not around to share it with them.
Last Thursday we found out that Daryl's grandmother was in the hospital and not going to make it. Her lungs had filled with fluid and years of fighting cancers her body had had enough (literally I think she fought just about every cancer there is over the years). Sigh. Loss is just never easy...no matter how old or young the loved one is it's always "to soon". You guys may remember my post from a few years ago about our Thanksgiving out at her house. Which of course put me in tears all over again reading it...again why I do love that I blog...my kids will get to read it too one day. With a background like mine full of lost loved ones...I just knew how important those pictures would be. How missed family will be one day. We always think things will just always be this way and well... I know things are temporary. I still can't get over how many people I have lost over the years...more than I can count on two hands and mostly by the age of 30.
Funerals are tough. I can say for sure that over the years I have become well versed in funeral services and death. Not something one really wants to be "well versed" in. But I have always tried to find the positive side to it all. A few things I have come to a conclusion on about death and dying:
- People have totally and completely different reactions to it. Some people are strong and never shed a tear...until weeks later when it finally "hits them". Some are a complete mess and can barely put one foot in front of the other. Some get angry and start fights. Everyone just handles it soooo differently. You just can't hold it against someone. Death brings out the best and the worst in people. You just have to love them through it and try to get past someone having a different response than you do.
- I have always had the firm rule...I do not look at my loved one in an open casket after death. I can remember everyone filing in to go and see my mother at her wake and I sat outside in the parking lot. Freezing cold, rainy day...5 months pregnant. Nope I didn't go in until they closed her casket. I am sure this looked bad. Like maybe I loved her less somehow? I never bothered to explain it to people because just like some have to see their loved one after death I am just the opposite. Mom and I had said our "goodbyes" the last time I saw her and I wanted my last image in my mind of her to be of her alive. I have stuck to this. I just simply prefer to remember my loved ones doing what they loved most...mom at the sewing machine...Nanny on a lawnmower. You get the idea. It's just a personal thing.
- A few weeks after the death comes the bickering over the "stuff". Never fails. "I want this...no I want it...no I should have it!" I have watched this split families and it is absolutely heart breaking. With close to a decade under my belt since the loss of most of my family I can say for sure fighting over "the stuff" is a complete and total waste of your time and energy. All I wanted was the photos. I wanted to be able to "see" my loved ones. The "stuff" just didn't hold it for me. Sure I love my moms gun chest in the front hall and sewing machine table upstairs but if a fire hit I am grabbing the pictures. Just saying. Let the "stuff" go. It isn't worth losing additional family members over. It just makes you grumpy and bitter and 10 years later you may not even remember what the "fight/stuff" was even about.
- This is a big one...and a tough one. Your relationship with the deceased was unique to you. They may have been wonderful to you someone else may not have had that experience with them. Tough...right? In death we all have these inner demons to slay. Accepting the ghosts from our past and often present. Death kindof shines this spotlight on the closet and brings with it crazy emotions. When my parents passed I can remember people coming up to me and telling me all sorts of things/stories about my parents I never knew. It was like I truly didn't know these people. They were different to me than to others. Not bad just different. A side I just didn't know about. Here is the thing...just because you struggled in a relationship with a loved one during their lifetime doesn't mean you won't miss them terribly when they are gone. Just because you struggled doesn't mean you didn't love them and that they didn't love you. It just means a relationship didn't come "easy". Accept it and move forward and try to focus on the good memories not the struggles and bad times so much. Or maybe try and just grow from the struggles and try and do better in your own life with those you may still struggle with.
I have to say this Spring I am sure I will be spending sometime mowing Nannies yard. She loved her yard. I have mowed it a ton over the years and she was always so particular...I loved that. She was a fellow garden/land enthusiast like me. Always on her "tractor". She would come andvisit me in big the gardenand tell me stories about the land and the people that have owned it for a VERY long time. She had quite and interesting life actually. She was always fascinated by "why in the world don't you use chemicals on your garden?" :-) It's going to be so strange out there this Spring without seeing her bouncing down the field to come and say "hi". I couldn't imagine not helping to take good care of her land though...she would haunt me and tell me to go take care of her land/yard! I have no doubt! :-) My mother used to joke that the reason my great grandmothers sister lived well into her 90's was because she always mowed her own grass....perhaps there is something to this grass mowing and long lives? As I posted on my wall this week:
"Today we started with the process of laying Nanny to rest. After the wake today I took the kiddos for a hike to enjoy the weather. Nanny loved her yard and being outside. We had that in common. She would have loved today. I saw this picture of me riding the lawnmower a few years ago out at the house and just smiled thinking about her "vehicle" of choice. I will never look at a mower and not remember her bouncing down the field to come say hello. The secret to a long happy life? A good lawnmower, sunshine and lots of people who loved you. Rest in peace nanny...we will miss you.
Pretty much sums it up. The last thing I know about death? The hard part comes well after the hub bub of the funeral and events surrounding it. The hard part comes at the most random of moments, in the most random of places and totally wrong and awkward moments. I always tell the story of coming out of my ultrasound with Haley two weeks after my mom had passed. We had just found out we were going to have a baby girl! I was so excited I picked up the phone to call mom first thing and even dialed...and then it hit me she was gone. Bam...in the car in a parking lot ugly crying. Yep...first of random spots and moments. That sums up loss and the grieving "process". It truly is a very long process and in reality you never stop missing those loved ones. Time may help but it surely doesn't make you forget. And it absolutely changes you. It should though. It is the ultimate reminder to go out there and live your life! Live it well...love your people and treat folks well. Life is short...even if you live to a ripe old age. It's still too short.