Humdrum

I haven’t been as manic in my writing, I know. A lot of my time has been spent with Strutter, which I’m not complaining about at all. This weekend was blogworthy, though, just because I’m in a sort of funk from it and want to write it out.
Friday was my mother’s birthday. I got wrapped up in things and forgot to call her, so I had resolved to do so on Saturday morning as soon as I was awake. Saturday morning, right after I woke up, my father called me. I was expecting this to be a tongue-lashing for forgetting to call, but he was using his “something bad has happened” voice. My uncle, Mom’s brother, was killed in a car accident.
I’ve not been close to Mom’s side of the family for awhile, but I still felt terrible because my mother just lost a sibling. On her birthday, too. On the bright side, if it wasn’t her birthday, he probably wouldn’t have called her earlier that day, so at least they got to talk before it happened.
The visitation and service was scheduled for Sunday. That’s a pretty fast turnaround, I’m told, but my cousin is the owner of a funeral home in that town, and I’m sure they pushed him through faster. (It was also a cremation, which probably doesn’t take as much prep time.) It would be the fourth funeral I’ve attended in my life. I put on my suit and tie, and Dad and I drove up.
The visitation made very little sense to me. It’s basically two hours of standing around watching family, friends, and acquaintances huddle together in small groups and talk about anything but the deceased. Some of my family from Dad’s side showed up, and I ended up standing with them to hear about how my little cousin’s future basketball career was shaping up. (I don’t think the WNBA will be calling.) Every so often, I’d look around to see a cousin or an aunt with puffy eyes, but my mom seemed pretty stone-faced.
At long last, the two hours went by, and we drove out to the cemetery, where my grandparents were also buried. The preacher said a few words. We prayed. We put a small box of ashes in the ground. After the service, we sort of milled around, giving hugs to each other and comforting words. I ended up putting my arm around one aunt, and then she latched onto me and cried. While I’m holding my aunt, I noticed that my mom has acquired the puffy eyes, and that’s when I lost my self-control. I guess it’s okay to cry at a funeral, but I still get self-conscious about it.
We meandered back to our cars and drove to my aunt’s house to say our farewells to each other, and Dad and I drove back. We listened to first quarter of the Super Bowl on the radio, which was a pretty weird experience. Strutter was waiting for me at my house, which brightened my day quite a bit. We went over to a co-worker’s house to watch the rest of the game, but only stayed until the fourth quarter.
I couldn’t sleep at all Sunday night. The sleep that did come was fitful, and brought nightmares that I can’t remember. So I tossed and turned until the alarm went off, and then I called in to work to take a personal day so I could catch up on sleep.
What’s really bothering me, though, is that I can’t figure out why I’m in this funk. I hardly knew my uncle. My mother seems to be taking it well. So why should I be upset about it? Am I upset because she isn’t? This is why I avoid funerals. They serve no purpose for me other than to bring me down.
On a lighter note, though, I plan on snuggling the crap out of Strutter tonight.  I think that will improve my mood significantly.

3 thoughts on “Humdrum”

  1. Death is a funny thing. Even when it doesn’t touch us directly, it affects us. It reminds us of humanity’s mortality, especially those we love. Maybe it’s seeing your mother’s grief at the funeral, knowing she is in pain from the loss of her brother. Death makes us feel helpless, and that’s a feeling not many of us like.
    I hope you had a nice, restful day & that Strutter made it a little brighter. Give your mom a call. I know she’ll appreciate hearing from you right now.

  2. Funerals are hard and I avoid them as much as possible. It sucks. It makes me feel that something is wrong with me because I am not as emotional as other people. It took a long time to understand that I am every bit as emotional, but I don’t show it in the same way.
    Felecia is right that death makes us feel helpless.

  3. Stuck, I am so sorry to hear about this. Losing people suddenly can be really hard. After losing two members of my immediate family, all i can say is that grief/loss/death are some of the strangest emotions in existence. they are unpredictable and mysterious. they often come with guilt and anger, too.
    When my brother died, someone told me that for the rest of my life, i would tear up at the thought of funerals in general. and it’s true! i don’t even have to know the person. it can be on the news! but when you go through grief, it can leave its mark on you, so whenever the idea enters your brain again, all those emotions can come back up. it happens to me all the time. your brain makes a permanent association between your grief and the grief of others.
    the other thing that i know for certain is that every single person will react to a death differently, and the emotions will have a huge spectrum, no matter how close they were to that person. and NONE of those reactions are right or wrong. they just ARE.
    so it’s all ok, no matter how you feel. eventually, time will give you perspective and understanding. it is going to feel differently for everyone in your family.
    i would recommend your mom read a book called “in lieu of flowers”. it really helped me a lot when my dad died. it’s a short book that helps you not feel so alone and sad. you can get it at your public library.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *