A week ago Sunday, a long strange week began. On the first Sunday morning, I was presented with the fact that my grandfather had died. A short while later as I made breakfast, I broke an egg containing two yolks. I’ve heard of those, but never actually gotten one myself. Of all days….
The next 48 hours were a blur of preparation, packing, sorting out details, and traveling. Originally, Will, the kids, and I were supposed to go camping with Will’s family Thursday night and Friday night. With the funeral midweek, I honestly didn’t know how much of that trip Felix and I were going to be able to make. Regardless, before I left, I had packed a full bag for me and Felix including funeral and camping stuff, as well as bags for Will and Stella with their camping stuff. Oh yeah. And another bad for Stella for her overnight trip to Oui Oui’s on Wednesday.
What to say about my grandfather’s services….. I don’t do funerals well. I know that nobody enjoys them, but I am intensely uncomfortable in these situations. I’m an introvert, so being around all those people is gnarly for me. Add to that that this was a small town where everybody knows everybody except for me, and it becomes even more strained. Finally, I absolutely abhor and loathe any public display of emotion – my own or anyone else’s. Funerals are basically stages for these emotions.
Southern women – call them yayas or steel magnolias, whatever your preference -seem to handle funerals with a grace and organization that I simply marvel at. They’re like a bereavement army. The food, the flowers, the offers to babysit my son during the services – it all just poured in. Felix and I arrived a few hours before visitation. Crispi and I figured it would be okay for him to come to that. I’m actually glad we brought him. He was a nice distraction for me and for everybody else during those two hours despite the fact that he kept getting loose and trying to charge the casket and the flower arrangements.
The next day- Wednesday- was the funeral. Loads of people came. My grandfather was a really good man – career army and reserves guy including service in WWII, family man, caretaker for his wife for 20 years, and committed volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, helping to build dozens of homes. 3 of my cousins performed at the service, singing and playing guitar and mandolin. I was in awe at their abilities and poise.
The hardest and weirdest part was that we – his 6 grandchildren – were to be pallbearers, which included 3 females. No one had ever seen much less heard of female pallbearers. Someone suggested we girls call ourselves ” the Paula bearers.” A good a name as any, I suppose. I have to admit I was terrified we’d drop him. I held my shit together until the color guard presented my mom – the eldest child – with the flag. That part got to me.
The next day, Felix and I made a final round of visits before departing to meet Will, Stella, and the gang at a state park where they had a cabin reserved. I’ll admit, I was not good company. My head was spinning, I was still sad, and really just wanted to hibernate for a few days. The kids had a ball, which was helpful to see. I suppose it was the whole circle of life thing for me, only this time it was the happier side of the circle.
So that’s where I’ve been the past week or two. I’m ready for things to get back to normal – whatever that is. I’m ready to laugh and smile – to relax.