Death is ugly.
The person who dies can make death less ugly by having plans.
We’re so human we forget we have an expiration date.
We forget when we die we leave behind the pots and pans of our lives and our loved ones have to figure out what to do with our ‘things.’
To some family, stuff is just stuff.
While my grandmother’s stuff may just be stuff to some – to me, it’s my childhood. It’s memories. The knickknacks are time capsules. They are a physical representation of memories.
They represent a better time for me.
24 hours after my grandmother passed away in her sleep I was in her apartment with my dad getting her funeral dress, I touched the fabric, could see her wearing it at my wedding just months before. I retrieved her wig. I went to her jewelry box and asked (out loud), “ok grandma, what jewelry would you want to wear?” None of this was fun. This wasn’t a time to stake a claim on her things. It was fucking brutal. I could smell her illness. There were soiled articles of clothing her bathroom. I instantly felt protective of her.
We gathered some photo books to make picture boards for her funeral.
Hours later I was sitting in the basement of the funeral home. Behind me hung her funeral dress. I took notes. I made no decisions. I watched my dad and his brothers pick her casket. I had no say. I didn’t want one. I was there for one reason – my father. My father, who along with his brothers and their wives have spent countless hours trying to prove her military status, trying to recoup some of the money they have spent to keep my grandmother safe and cared for over the last year. I wasn’t there for fun. I wasn’t there as part of the planning committee. I was there because I don’t work 9-5 and wanted to support my father.
No conspiracy. No preferential treatment.
Matt and I wanted a house we could fill with family. We have done so again, and again, and have enjoyed it. When I called my husband and work, hyperventilating we decided our house would be open for the family. My folks were driving down and I wanted this to be a place where all of my family could congregate.
Tomorrow it will all be over. My grandmother’s things will be disbursed to family. Her apartment will be cleaned and someone else will move in.
The book of her life will close. That’s what I want to grieve today. I’m gonna take some time out from the human drama and just miss her.