One thing that I have learned through the events of the past week is that everyone responds to the death of a loved one differently. Well, actually, I already knew that but what I learned is that what an individual needs to cope and to heal from the death of a loved one is as different as the individuals who are grieved by it.
I never again want to hear “Sorry for your loss” or “Thoughts and prayers,” ever again. Not that those responses are wrong. They are appropriate and I am sure, heart felt but after hearing it over and over and over…it becomes trite and sanitized. I know I have said the same things to people who have lost a loved one. So what do you say?
It was actually my mother-in-law who said the best thing, “I know there are no words that I can say to make it hurt less.”
When my friend’s Dad died I sent her flowers and made sure her house was clean when she got home. When my Grandma died she made me a meal and took me out to a basketball game. What I wanted was to come home to a clean house and some flowers. What she wanted was for me to make her a meal and take her out. I very much appreciated her meal because I knew what it meant to her but I still wanted some flowers.
I bought my own flowers. It helped.
I told Man, “When I am down I need conversation, flowers, a card or wine. Not all of those things from one person but one of those things from someone.”
“There it is,” he said.
There it is. Caren has known me for less than 2 years and has that all figured out. She must be a genius. She has pulled me along (literally carried me) out to get busy. We were planning a party before Grandma left and she has got me right back out there doing it again. Wine with every meal. Lot’s of company and opportunity to vent.
What really helps me out of grief or sad times is humor. Make me laugh! There were lot’s of funny things that happened at my Grandma’s funeral that has had me laughing all week.
On our way there we stopped at a Dairy Queen for lunch. Bug was so excited and was dancing around while we placed our orders. (We don’t often do fast food so he was a little excited.) The boys literally dove into their burgers and shakes. It was disgusting. I figured we best have a Coming To Jesus regarding their table manners before getting together with my family. My Grandma was a very proper, well-mannered lady. She would be appalled.
“All right, I want both of you to look at me,” I said. “We are about to be at a funeral. When someone dies there is always lots of food there and…”
“Really? Well then funerals are the place for me!” Bug declared.
For Grandma’s service Buddy and Bug wore suits. Their little clip on ties would not stay straight. My cousin tried to straighten Bug’s tie and to button his suit coat like Buddy’s.
“Um, yeah…that’s not gonna happen…” I whispered to him.
My cousin tried to pull the lapels together but Bug’s belly is rather…girthy. Bug didn’t mind. He grabbed a lapel in each hand and wiggled his toosh in a funny dance while saying “I’m lookin’ GOOD!”
“Don’t I look sharp, Mom?”
“Yes you do Bug.”
“Look how sharp I am,” he said while he poked me with his finger.
“Ooo! So sharp!”
“One could say,” chimed in my Mother, “the you are lookin’…HOT!” she said as she licked the tip of her finger and then touched her arm with a sizzle.
“Um, Nana,” said Buddy. “That was not very ‘age appropriate.'”
When getting dressed for the service I was very worried about wearing the correct undergarments.
“Sissy, I’m going to try on different undies and I need you to look for a panty-line.”
I tried on various styles of underwear. Each cut showed up in a different place.
“None of these are working,” Sissy said.
“Well, I refuse to go Commando to Grandma’s funeral! That would not be OK!”
“I’m not wearing panty hose.”
“No. Just cut them. I happened to buy a pair just in case.”
We called the concierge for scissors and cut them into what was essentially a pair of Spanx. It worked perfectly.
“You are an evil genius,” I told her.
When it came time for me to say my eulogy I walked up the stairs of the stage. My thoughts were on not falling and not breaking down. After the service my sister and I were walking out to the car.
“Um…I kinda think someone needs to thank me for saving the day here…” she said.
“For the panty hose? Your back side was seamless.”
“Oh yeah! Thanks! Oh my gosh! Could you imagine if I had a panty line while going up the stairs?”
“Yeah…about that. We need to talk about this action here…” she said while she put her hands on my hips.
“Are you talking about her swagger?” My Aunt chimed in.
“Oh yeah,” Sissy said.
“What?” I asked.
“You had a little Boom Boom Pow going on when you were going up those stairs.”
“Oh my lands! Are you serious? I was not even thinking about it. Was it like this?” I asked and I did a Marilyn Monroe strut down the sidewalk.
“That was it!” Sissy and my Aunt said together.
“Well, then I just gave all of Grandma’s friends and family something to talk about because guess what else…”
I went on to tell them that when we were all doing the Peace Be With You’s, My Man’s hand slid down my back down to my butt. And lingered. My Man does not show Public Display’s Of Affection so I was pretty sure it was an accident.
“Lover,” I whispered in his ear. “It’s ‘peace be with you,’ not ‘get a piece.'”