I should probably elaborate on my funeral musings, lest people think I was singularly insensitive and unmoved by the occasion. Let me first say, that I am really profoundly bothered by open casket funerals. Death, I think, is private.
We get to the chapel, and there is my grandpa, lying there for all the world to see. It took me a full 10 minutes to work up the courage to walk IN to the room. I could not look, it was hard and emotionally scary to see MY grandpa like that. So I sat and tried to act like it was ok and not look. Meanwhile, everyone else was walking up, kissing him goodbye, tucking stuff in his pockets and talking about how "wonderful" he looked. And folks, he looked NOT like my grandpa. He looked dead. And that was not wonderful to me. He was wearing too much makeup. He looked like a wax doll. I did not like it. I did not want to be there, in that room with a dead grandpa. I felt about six. I felt a pout coming on.
Everyone kept offering to hold my hand and walk up with me, so I could pay my respects. But I had paid my respects by buying a plane ticket, renting a car, writing a eulogy and showing up. I paid my respects by speaking.
I did not want to be there in that room, with a dead grandpa in it. I did not want to tuck candy in his pocket or kiss his cold cheek. I respected him enough to not want to see him like that. That is not how I want to remember him and now my last vision of him is cold, dead, in a box, in a suit I never saw before, wearing too much makeup.
MY grandpa did not wear makeup, he wore cardigan sweaters and he was not cold.
My elderly auntie and other relatives kept saying, "he is only sleeping. He's just sleeping peacefully."
And THAT is when I lost my shit a little bit and said that NO, he is dead. And that it was ok, because at 92 you can be dead and it is sad, but not something to gloss over with platitudes. It just is.
Part of life.
Cue insensitive (but funny in my brain) comment about how if he wakes up I am aiming for the head. And yes, listening to Lime & Violet's "Jesus is coming" bit on the plane at 6am that morning DID plant that one in my subconscious, I am sure.
Auntie looked upset. I apologized and said yes, he looks peaceful. Auntie pretended she had not heard zombie humor. I pretended he looked wonderful. Family harmony prevailed.
At 92, I feel like, he's doing what is natural. His knees don't hurt now. He never has to be sad again, or worry or be lonely. And that is okay, at 92. I don't mind that he passed on. We all do. May we be so lucky to live so long and so well. Don't have to pretend it is a nap. And for god's sake, let it be private and let the dead have their dignity. Which is why, naturally, I reacted with the I'm so going to hell now humor. Because I am all about the dignity.
I did go look. I did say goodbye and pat his stiff shoulder. I wish I had stuck to my guns and remembered him living instead.
Then we all drank punch, ate ham and it was over.
I have knit a sock and 12 repeats of Liesel. I want to go home and see my kids and my kittens. I do not want to be here any more.