Gather

We laid my brother to rest this afternoon. There are issues surrounding death that we don’t think about when we’re younger, because you hand them to the older people in the family, and they handle it. For you. The details. I never realized until recently how much I truly didn’t know about the process. Things I am still finding out. And even more I have yet to find out.

When my family attended my Grandpa’s service in 2003, the Priest did not know him. Didn’t know who he was as a person. We all nudged each other when he stated, “Jesus was a carpenter”…relating it to Grampa also having been a carpenter in his younger life. We watched him reach for that, unplanned, as if he’d only just remembered. In front of all of us. And that was hard. Not feeling like his memory was represented properly. Even though we knew. And that did define him in a way. It just would have been nice. So, that was a major source of anxiety these past few days for me. That no one would really get to experience my brothers character. Or who he was. Because the Priest, again, did not know him. But…we knew him. And we were the only ones there. That was enough. So it was okay. It’s all okay.

The biggest difficulty, for me, is coming from the fact that we did not get to see him before the interment. It was a discussion he and I had last year when we realized these issues weren’t something we couldn’t not talk about forever between the two of us. So I did know that was his preference. I did know that. It’s probably going to be mine too. And passing nearly 3000 miles from home presented every last one of us with our own personal issues. I’m slowly making peace with it, or hope to, because at least this way, my memories can be what I choose them to be. Not just something in a box or a jar.

My heart hurt for my father most of all today. He wasn’t able to speak when it was his turn, which I didn’t expect, and I know that’s going to come back to him later on. Even if it takes a while. I’ve heard him, in the past, excuse his absense in these things by saying, “oh…they know how I feel about this kind of stuff…” as if, from somewhere, far off, they would see and understand why he didn’t participate. I’m still not sure if he believes what he’s always told himself. But I think everyone has their own ways. I’m still trying to figure out mine.

He wasn’t pleased with the placement. Again. He said he can’t visit a hole high in a wall. Nor was he pleased with the dirty utility ladder that the dirty grounds worker brought in for him to climb. Again. We did the best we could. We wanted him near my mom, whose placement he also hadn’t cared for. So it wasn’t new. But, it was still embarrasing, and hurtful and he was right when he said my brother deserved better. Even though it was nice apart from that, I think it’s natural to always feel there needed to be more. Something else. My dad has always said he hates cemeteries….”I only want to go there once”. I remember being horrified when he said that out loud at my great-grandmas service when I was a kid. But these days, I get it and can laugh about it like he does. Now, far past his agreed limit, the family discussion this week, and the main goal, will be him joining spaces with me. A prospect that gives me great joy. Even if he hasn’t exactly attached to it yet. Once he leaves there won’t be anyone near to keep watch on my brother or mom. No one to visit. Which worries him. Which brings up a new worry for me.

I realized that I don’t know much about the moving of remains. It feels silly even wondering as an adult if that is legal. Probable. Allowed. I just don’t know. So much. All I know is that I’m going to ask to receive both this week and hope for the best. I wasn’t asked at the time. And maybe I didn’t consider it before that because I hadn’t had to. But I will be finding out once all this has settled. Because part of me feels like I want the four of us to be at peace and I feel like it needs to be together. That maybe that’s when the quiet will come for my dad. At least that’s what I think and I’d like to give it a shot.

It is not easy to be far from family. Let alone, to be incapacitated that way when something happens. With your hands tied. From a distance. Without the knowledge or resources that you need so badly. I’ve always felt my mom’s illness and passing ended up serving a higher purpose in my life and for my children. And that is how I got through it with gratitude when I couldn’t have time to grieve. In this case, I can’t help but think there was supposed to be more time. But, strangely enough I also feel like the purpose still remains to be seen. And I will be looking for it. And I’ll be waiting. And that’s also okay.

I am not someone anyone wants to know in a time of tragedy. I am not a graceful griever. I know that now and I can’t apologize enough. I just can’t. I don’t know how to ask for help or time. I just get angry. And resentful. I withdraw. I forget my kids and what they need. My family. My friends. And I stop caring for myself. I stop being me. And I stop being me to the people I love. I forget to be grateful for them. And more importantly, to tell them. In time, I come around. But it’s my own fault that I end up there by myself when that time finally comes, wondering what the hell went wrong. My fault. And I see that. I just don’t know how to do it. I know how to talk about how I feel. And how to say the wrong things. Consistently. I know that now, too.

Whether we see grief coming, or we do not, it is never what we want. Or, God forbid, what we chose. But this will lead to other things we don’t want if we let it. And I do let it. I don’t try to…but I don’t try not to either. Because I don’t know what else to do. And I never have. But on that same hand, I have to find ways to keep going too. Me. Even though it may be small, I have a legacy to take care of in my kids. I don’t have any choice in that. I can only say, that mode has been all I could see for the past week. To keep going. Absolutely all I could see. Nothing else. And I didn’t even do that properly. And I’m sorry. I will be me again. I will keep showing up to my life even when I’m going to fail. I’m still learning. We are all still learning. It seems that is the only thing you can plan on.

I’ve stared at more walls in the past few weeks than I have admitted to anyone. But…The focus tonight will finally switch gears towards my dad. We’re fittingly having a full family party, and my plan is to bombard him with options, shoot down any arguments he thinks he has against moving, and keep him away from the beer. Or try. Aside from that, I got the jacket. And that was what I wanted most.

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54 thoughts on “Gather

  1. Beautifully written, your heart and soul stitched into this piece!! As much as the others… perhaps more so. πŸ§‘πŸ•Š

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    1. Thank you so, so much for this. πŸ˜” It seemed more fitting of where we were all at rather than being consumed. It’s difficult, but trying. Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry for your lost. Please know that I am thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I’m back to work tomorrow which I think I need. It’s sort of been walking tunnel vision being off for a week. ☺

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      1. πŸ˜€β€οΈ

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  3. I’m so sorry that you have to experience this grief, this loss. Of course I only wish good things for you, but life has a way of bringing us heartache anyway. You will remain in my prayers in the coming days and weeks, months. So glad you took your heart to the keyboard. And that you will continue to write your way through to the other side of this.
    Peace be with you. ❀

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    1. Thank you ☺ ….I *think*, I think it’s going to be okay. I’m listening for what I can right now and I’ve been feeling like it’s my chance to just peacefully be, and listen. I feel like it’s going to be okay, in a not so strange way. My hearts starting to race saying any more on that, so I’ll leave it there for now.

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  4. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I understand that words really mean nothing to you right now. Maybe in time, but not now.

    The death of a loved one, the grief that follows and the process of physically letting them go is so terribly personal. The best and only thing you can do is to do your absolute best to honor the wishes of the one your lost and then do what you need to do for yourself and your living loved ones. Your grief is your own and you need to walk through it in the only way you can, one step at a time, no matter how big or small those steps.

    Sending you a virtual hug as that is all I can offer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, words do mean so much. I appreciate the time and words of anyone who uses their own for me especially now, I feel like I need to hear others stories, and even falls, through these situations. For me, that makes it no longer too tough to bear. That has been such a helpful positive. Thank you so much for this 😏

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  5. My condolences πŸ’ŒπŸ•ŠπŸ•―
    Big hugs and all the cheese in Wisconsin!

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    1. Thank you so much πŸ˜” Dill cheese curds would help greatly right now, my friend. Thank you, I am holding steady. Keeping faith. πŸ§€

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    1. 😢 I’m hoping for sleep tonight and a sunny morning. Thank you!

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  6. So sorry. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to lose a sibling.

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    1. Thank you so much. It has been a long week. I’m feeling very cheated right now which I suppose is a natural progression. After the rest of it. I’m hanging on for that to pass. πŸ˜”

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  7. I’m sooooo sorry that you’re experiencing this. Big, big virtual hugs! And I hope you find a sense of peace soon, and that you find a way to be you again. There are so many emotions during a time like this. Write what you can, share what you want to.

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    1. Thank you. I’m feeling good about the decision to have a party and that everyone could make it out. I sort of feel like that’s fitting as far as his personality…and getting to see everyone for the first time in ages, that will be a huge plus.

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  8. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Tough times, indeed.

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  9. I’m so sorry for your loss. We lost my mom last year and while he pastor did know her I still came away from the service feeling something was missing. I attended a memorial service for a friend soon after and felt much better about that service. My friends have been instructed to throw a wake when I die because I’m afraid my family will go with the same standard impersonal service every other family member has had so far. I also posted about my plan for my funeral, but no one who needs to know read it. It’s a tough situation and I’m sorry you are going through it.

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    1. It did indeed feel very impersonal. There was no plan in place so we were just as surprised as he was when we expected him to honor someone he never knew. Wrenched my heart quite a bit. But the rest was decent I suppose and we made up for a lot of it with a nice party for him and a big dinner for my dad. Like you say, I think those things tend to serve the loved one and family members better. I don’t know…I’m exhausted. Thank you so much for understanding.

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  10. Virtual hugs winging there way through the interwebs from me to you. Sorry is such a small word, but know that it carries a huge amount of sympathy and empathy and sorrow that you are experiencing this when I say: I am sorry; sorry for the grief, sorry for the pain, sorry for the confusion and anger and all the other feelings that accompany what you are experiencing. I wish you peace.

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    1. Thank you so very much. There are no small words 😏 I appreciate them all and every one helps. Confusion and anger have been apt recently but have slowed a bit thankfully. Thank you so much again. ☺

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  11. So sweet. So sorry. Written words are your gift. Let them help you. πŸ’Ÿ

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    1. Thank you 😢 I haven’t had the heart to add anything this week. Once it settles though, I hope to. Talk to you soon. πŸ™‚

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  12. This was a beautifully written heartfelt message. I’m sorry you have to go through this. I was planning to go to church tomorrow and I will light a candle for you and your family.

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    1. Thank you, it’s greatly appreciated and so thoughtful of you 😢 I missed church for once on a day I desperately needed it and I definitely felt the space. Thank you so much again πŸ™‚

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  13. Gosh I remember just chuckling over the story you shared about your brother and parking at college I believe. He sounded quick witted and fun. I’m really sorry, although I know after having lost every family member I’ve ever deeply cared for, with the exception of my son, that those words mean diddly squat right now. Take it easy on yourself as you travel through this journey of grief. Teaching your girls how to grieve is very valuable for them. Let them be there for you too.🌼

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    1. Hah…yes, I forgot that story had seeped into the post about driver’s ed πŸ˜” Sigh. He was…extremely quick witted and fun, both. A great man but definitely had his own way of living his life. This last week or so has had a different effect on every one of us, so we aren’t sure how to look at each other right now…if that makes sense. But, all in good time. Thank you so much for this. πŸ™‚

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  14. I’m sorry that you have to go through this, Sam! ❀

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    1. Thank you so much πŸ˜” Just been very tired and quiet. It will lighten hopefully soon.

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      1. Awww I hope so too! *blugs*

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  15. Deepest condolences for your loss, Sam. We all grieve in our own way, in our own time. And time is the big healer helping you to remember the good times, the special things. Follow your intuition – it’s leading you in the right direction by the sounds of it. Bless you and yours at this time of loss and grief x

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    1. Thank you so much 😏 When I was home I feel like we allowed a lot of the good in, too. Along with the inevitable unpleasant parts. I’m happy for that and when I’m feeling better I’m hoping for some proper memorialization with several of the family members. Things we didn’t get to do yet. Thank you again πŸ™‚

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  16. Sending healing thoughts for you and your family. No one can truly know another’s personal experience but we all have suffered loss. I am so sorry for yours at this time. Hugs and love.

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    1. Thank you for this πŸ™‚ Things are still very foggy figuratively, but I’m looking forward to spring and heading to some of the places we’ve visited together. Just me if I can get the time. I think that will help me a great deal. Thank you so much again.

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      1. That sounds very healing. I lost my brother 6 years ago. It was not a simple situation and it is very surreal to me. Take care.

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        1. Aww no πŸ˜” I’m sorry to hear that. Yes, this was very unexpected and indeed surreal. The word describes it *perfectly*…thank you for your understanding.

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  17. I am so sorry. Ill be praying for you. I am sorry I dont have beautiful words to say because I am grieving right along with you with the death of my grandpa. We lay him to rest on Friday. I have this hole in my chest and it aches and I can’t eat and I feel sick. My eyes are puffy and it is OK that my eye make up is smeared. I loved him. Everyone did. I wish I could tell you that it will all be OK and he is in a better place, but I am still trying to tell myself that. All I can say Sam is I will pray for you. And send a long distant hug.

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    1. Oh no…πŸ˜” I’m just getting back to WP. I needed a break. I’m so sorry, how did your grandfathers service and memorial go? Silly question, I know but sometimes it gives a little peace. I understand the sickness and not eating. Still currently trying to kick out of that and find energy to go to work during the day when all I really want to do is sleep and try to feel better. I’m awfully glad we are nearing the tail end of winter and I can get to other things that will help. Thank you for this and I hope you’re feeling a little better as well πŸ˜”

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      1. The service went well. It was a nice service. We had the funeral on Friday. I have never had to grieve for someone. I have been lucky to have never lose anymore. It hurts so much. It makes your chest feel hollow and my mind can’t hardly fathom the idea that he won’t be there to talk to and hug. I hate this . I hope you get to feeling better as well . you are in my prayers .

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        1. It is awful. I am with you wholeheartedly on that. I don’t have any grandparents left but I’m grateful I did have all of mine a nice long time, as well as a great grandma until I was a teenager. Take care of yourself and your family. Don’t forget to breathe. Sounds simple but often is not.

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          1. Thank you. Breathing has become rather difficult lately that’s for sure . I still have my grandma, the wife of the grandparent that just passed and my dads mom. But we are not really close.

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  18. Thinking of you. Hugs!!πŸ’ŒπŸ’ŒπŸ’Œ

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    1. Thank you so much for checking in with me. I’ve peacefully been a hermit since I got back then had to get back to work today which I thought would feel better than it actually did. Not the greatest of days today, so I appreciate this πŸ€— Thank you!

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  19. So sorry for your loss.

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  20. I have tears in my eyes for such a beautifully written post dear Sam. Healing hugs for you from all of us, especially me. Grief is hard alone, not to mention all the other stuff that gets meshed in between so please take good care of yourself. Don’t be so hard on you. Be kind. Hug yourself from all of your followers because we’re here for you, caring for you and sending you love and light. I’m so sorry Sam for your loss…I’ve been there. I understand.

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    1. Thank you so much 😢 I’ve found some days to be far more difficult than others this past few weeks. It’s helped to accept that I won’t know what it will be until it shows up. That way I don’t surprise myself. Today has been one of those strange ones so I truly appreciate reading these words. Thank you so much again 😊

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      1. Sending you healing hugs always Sam. It’s a journey when we are grieving. Ups and downs. xo

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  21. I don’t know what to say…sorry is not enough. Much love to you.

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