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Musings on the virtues of a Norse funeral

I am terrible with a lot of things. Most of them social-related. But most of all, I am terrible with the grief of others. Most specifically, the grief when someone has died.

I never know, when someone has passed away, what to say. I assume you’re supposed to say, “I’m so sorry.” But then I think, everyone says that. So does the mourning person need to hear that AGAIN? Really? Don’t they think you’re being very disingenuous if you’re just saying the same thing everyone has said? But if you try to shake it up and you say something like “He/she is in a better place,” well, I think the mourning person has a right to punch you in the schnozz. Dead is a better place? Than being alive? And there next to you so you can talk to them and hug them and tell them how much you love them? I mean, I guess. If they’d been burned over 98% of their body and were in agonizing PAIN or something. But otherwise, no. Earth is a better place. Isn’t it? At least most of the time?

Better to be here than...wherever. Right? I'll take the devil I know over the devil I don't, thanks.

Better to be here than…wherever. Right? I’ll take the devil I know over the devil I don’t, thanks.

Mostly I just give them a hug and kind of a sad face like I am SO SAD that I don’t know what to say. It’s not completely false. I don’t know what to say. Because that grief, that loss, is huge. And my stupid, awkward, clumsy words aren’t going to make it any better.

This is why I avoid going to wakes and funerals as much as I can. Because if you’re not there, you don’t have to say these things. You can send a card. It’s completely acceptable to write “I am so sorry for your loss” in a card. Or “If there’s anything I can do, please let me know.” Or things like that. That doesn’t seem as weird as those words coming out of your awkward stupid mouthhole.

Also, wakes are the worst because of the dead person. The dead person hanging out RIGHT THERE.

There was a photo of someone glamour-shotting in front of a coffin here, but she contacted me and said there was a lawyer and a stolen photo and something about it being tradition to glamour shot in front of dead people in her family and I don't even know so I took it down just in case of lawsuits.  As one does.

There was a photo of someone glamour-shotting in front of a coffin here, but she contacted me and said there was a lawyer and a stolen photo and something about it being tradition to glamour shot in front of dead people in her family and I don’t even know so I took it down just in case of lawsuits. As one does.

I’m trying to think, and if I’m remembering correctly, I’ve been to maybe four wakes in my whole life? Maybe five. Or six. I wonder if I went to my great-grandparents’ wakes? I was pretty young when they died. As you can see, that averages out to about one every ten years, unless you count my great-grandparents, which I don’t think I will. My plan to avoid wakes so I’m not the awkward weirdo in the room is going SPLENDIDLY. Three were family members and one was a close friend’s relative and I love her and her family so much that I didn’t care about the awkwardness, I was going to be there for her, dammit. And I was.

And I’ve been to two funerals. They’re not AS awkward. And after my first one I was very sad we didn’t get to do that cool “throwing dirt on the dead person’s coffin” thing that they do on television. I always wanted to do that. Do only certain religions do that? I’m honestly curious. Or is that only a television thing?

See? The Pretty Little Liars got to do it. I WANT TO THROW DIRT DRAMATICALLY!

See? The Pretty Little Liars got to do it. I WANT TO THROW DIRT DRAMATICALLY!

Anyway. The dead person. OK, so the dead person is just hanging out there, and the dead person is so made-up they look whorish, and I realize (listen, I watched a LOT of Six Feet Under) that if there was no makeup on the dead person, that dead person would look, well, dead. All gray and sunken and it’d be like four hours in the room with a zombie corpse. I get it. But Andreas told me the other night that the point of an open coffin was closure. Well, wouldn’t people get more closure from seeing the dead the way they really are, as opposed to all tarted up? I mean, sincerely. My poor grandmother was made up like a $2 Amsterdam whore. (NO, I have no idea if there are $2 whores. Don’t all go flocking to Amsterdam to find these $2 whores and report back to me all angry they charge substantially more. I USED $2 TO MAKE A POINT.) My grandfather had so much base on he looked like he’d been tanning. He would have been SO ANGRY about this.

Kind of like this. ONLY IT WAS MY GRANDFATHER. I know, disconcerting, yeah?

Kind of like this. ONLY IT WAS MY GRANDFATHER. I know, disconcerting, yeah?

Also, and I know we’ve talked about this before, but the amount of sentimental crap, the garbage tchotchkes, that people put in the coffin with the dead person? INFURIATE AND DISGUST ME. This is the most hilarious thing in the world to my dad. He knows how much this upsets me so all he has to do to get me to rant is to say, “Hey, Amy, when you die, want me to put little crystal animals in your coffin with you?” and he’ll get a twenty-minute harangue about “WHAT THE HELL OLD MAN? THIS ISN’T THE GLASS MENAGERIE! I AM NOT BLUE ROSES! AND IF YOU ALLOW PEOPLE TO PUT TRASH IN MY COFFIN I WILL HAUNT YOU TO *YOUR* GRAVE! THIS IS WHY I WANT TO BE CREMATED!!!” Then he laughs and laughs.

The dead person does not need a magnifying glass. What, so he can peer around in the afterlife? No. That is foolish.

The dead person does not need a magnifying glass. What, so he can peer around in the afterlife? No. That is foolish.

Also, you get fake-criers? Do you know what I mean by this? People who I think LIVE for death like vultures of mourning and they come up to the grieving family and they’re all “I AM SO SO-HO-HO-REEEE” and then they like shake with all the grief and when they finally move the hell on, one of the family members asks another, “Who was that?” in a hushed tone out of the side of their mouth, and NO ONE KNOWS. Because they’re NOT EVEN TANGENTIALLY INVOLVED WITH THE DEAD PERSON. They are GHOULS. PROFESSIONAL MOURNING GHOULS. Now, before you say “Amy, come on, everyone has their own way to show grief,” no. I don’t even care. Being obnoxious and making a funeral all about you is not appropriate.

BOB IS DEAAAAAAD! And how did you know the deceased? Oh, I read about him in the paper, I didn't know him at all. SO SAAAAAD, THOUGH!!!!

BOB IS DEAAAAAAD! And how did you know the deceased? Oh, I read about him in the paper, I didn’t know him at all. SO SAAAAAD, THOUGH!!!!

(Also, I’ve already informed my parents that when they die, I’m hiding in the back of the funeral home. Or, even better, under my bed. Because I refuse to be in the line of people that all the mourning people come through and condole and touch. TOUCH! Can you even IMAGINE? I don’t know those people. I don’t want my grief on display. WHY ARE WE SO GHOULISH ABOUT MOURNING IN THIS COUNTRY?)

Seriously, I want to put our dead on a boat, light the boat on fire, and set that ship a’sailin’. The Vikings had the right idea. This whole thing is stressing me the hell out.

Yes. This. Please. Thank you.

Yes. This. Please. Thank you.

All of this snarky leadup is to tell you that my beloved great-aunt Jan passed away last week and I will be attending her wake tonight which is an hour away in the town where she used to live and I will be seeing my extended family who I love very much and my father was on vacation but he cut it ten days short because it was his last aunt or uncle left on that side and he’s kind of devastated and made a marathon drive back from Florida for the services and I don’t best know how to handle all of this. Not even a little bit. So what I do when I’m freaked out is I become very inappropriately sarcastic because that is the wall I hide my pain behind. What? That’s not normal? Too bad, it’s all I know.

(Also, FYI, through a snafu of miscommunication, where did I find out about her death? THROUGH A FACEBOOK POST. It was one of those “I thought your father would tell you!” “I thought your mother would tell you!” things. No. I READ ABOUT IT ON MY LUNCH BREAK AT WORK. This is not what Facebook is for. Facebook is for theater announcements, kitten GIFs, and people getting ranty about politics. THAT IS ALL THANK YOU.)

Aunt Jan was my grandmother’s baby sister and she was awesome, you guys. She got married and had three very little kids and then her husband died in a terrible accident only a handful of years into their marriage and she raised those kids all by herself. (And those kids became three amazing adults that I love to pieces, and their kids are great, too.)

And damn, did she rock the cat-eye glasses. She was ADORABLE.

She was tough as nails. She was a nurse and a teacher and she was wickedly sarcastic and funny and one of the most independent and intelligent women I’ve ever had the honor to know. She was never on time for anything and she couldn’t sleep any better than my dad and I can and when she laughed, you couldn’t help but laugh along with her, because she laughed with her whole self. And she listened and cared with her whole self, too. She was just the best. And she was tiny, only a little over five feet, but she was a FORCE. She entered a room and you KNEW. She and her sister, my grandmother, were the best of friends, and went on many jaunty adventures together, just the two of them, getting into all kinds of shenanigans. And when my grandmother died, and I’d talk to Jan, sometimes I would just close my eyes, because they had the same voice. And I could pretend my grandmother was still talking to me and she wasn’t gone from my life forever because, oh, you guys. How much I miss my grandmother. How much I miss hearing her voice. How much I miss making her laugh.

(She liked funny faces in photos, too. I didn't get all my traits from the neighbors.)

(Jan liked funny faces in photos, too. I didn’t get all my traits from the neighbors.)

Two years ago, she had a stroke, which is what my grandmother died of, and I broke one of my most important rules and went to the hospital to see her, because I was not able to see my grandmother before she died because I lived five hours away and everyone said, “no! Don’t worry, don’t bother coming home” and I didn’t and then she was gone and I couldn’t have lived with myself if that happened again. (I avoid hospitals as I avoid wakes or funerals. Hospitals are where they put your loved ones before they die and no one escapes and they smell like death and despair and soup and cheap cleanser and they make my chest hurt.) Even though the hospital still smelled like death and I felt like probably I would die the minute I entered, I soldiered on. She looked terrible and so small and there were a million tubes and wires and her eyes looked so scared and my family was all exhausted and I hate these things, you know? I find death very stupid and very terrible and I don’t know how to deal with it. And, as mentioned, my default is humor, but I highly doubt that’s appropriate there. (Not that it doesn’t slip out sometimes. And sometimes it’s totally appreciated, and sometimes not so much. The phrase “tough room” was built for a room of people waiting to find out if their beloved mother is going to make it through the night, I’d think.)

But she did pull through, only she couldn’t talk or move much, and she moved to Pennsylvania to live with her son, and this past week she had an aortic aneurism and it was fairly quick, I think, only two years isn’t all that quick, not really, not if you think about not being able to talk or take care of yourself when you’ve spent your whole life taking care of yourself and everyone around you.

So Dad wasn’t coming home for the services, but then he surprised me and told me he was, and I might have cried a little because I am most sincerely petrified at these things and it makes me feel more comfortable if he’s there because he knows all those people and he makes sure to introduce me to people and make me feel part of things and he knows I get overwhelmed and sometimes need to go out for some air or maybe just to walk around or something because people make me claustrophobic and death makes it worse.

“You were going to go anyway, though,” he said.

“Of course I was,” I said. “That’s my family, too. Not just yours. I love them. Even if it gives you panic attacks, you do things you hate for the people you love. I know that.”

“Well, huh. You sure are my girl. Huh,” said Dad. Then he got a little teary but if you ask him he’ll say it was the things blooming in Florida that were triggering his allergies and then he said he had to go.

So tomorrow I am leaving work early and driving about an hour to go to the wake and won’t be home until late. Dad says people don’t wear black anymore because we are not in olden times. “Probably I shouldn’t wear clown-colors, though,” I said. “No, probably that’d be inadvisable,” Dad agreed. We have also discussed whether or not I need to go to the funeral and it has been decided no because I would have to miss almost a whole day of work and since I’m going on vacation next week and missing a lot of work that would ALSO be inadvisable and plus Dad says if you go to the wake people don’t expect you to go to both, it’s just nice that I’m going to the wake at all. I feel like this means people think I’m some sort of terrible caveman with the worst manners who never attends family gatherings and the sight of an Amy in the wild is a rare one, indeed, but he said that’s not what he meant at all.

She’s in a better place. She’s with God now. God called another one of his angels home. She’s in heaven with her sister and her husband. She’s watching over us all now.

Don’t. Please, don’t.

I’m sorry for your loss.

Better.

How about, just, I’ll miss her?

Yes. That.

I’ll miss her.

Because I will. Because it’s true.

And I can still hear her laughing in my head. She sounds just like my grandmother. I close my eyes and I can’t tell the two of them apart.

(Photos stolen from my beautiful cousin J.’s Facebook page. Thanks, J. The woman you’ve become amazes me. I love you fiercely and would like to beat anyone who hurts you with a two-by-four studded with railroad spikes. Love you to pieces.)

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

50 responses to “Musings on the virtues of a Norse funeral

  • Charleen

    So, I know this isn’t really the same thing, but I found out that my parents were putting our dog down on Facebook. In their defense, they had both texted me but my phone was on silent or something. But… yeah, that was terrible.

    And then three days later my father-in-law passed away. It was not a good week.

    Although, it was during one of those insomniatic nights (okay, so I don’t know the real adjective form of insomnia) that I stumbled upon your blog.

    And yeah, I never know what to say either, which is probably why I’m blathering on about my own stuff instead of acknowledging your loss. Which, I am sorry she’s gone. But, you know… awkwardness…

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Oh, I’m so sorry. Nothing like that should happen on Facebook! It should not be posted on Facebook until everyone knows with their ACTUAL face. Period. Sigh.

      I’m so sorry about both your dog and your father-in-law. And no, not the same thing, but I’m an animal person, so I understand that loss. Completely. (I won’t cheer that it brought you here, but secretly I am pleased, because I like having you here!)

      Thank you. Since I never know what to say, I’m not at all judgey about it. Promise.

      Like

  • elaine4queen

    I did not shed a tear reading this. I HAD SOMETHING IN MY EYE.

    Now, then. For some reason the sarcastic god of death has sent me a fair amount of funerals and whatnot lately, so I can confirm that unless someone stipulates clown colours (and some do) then sober is good. Goths and emos have ruined black for mourners, but it’s not illegal to wear it. I actually wore jeans to my auntie’s funeral, but the weather was very harsh so I was wearing outdoorsy boots too. From the waist up I did civilized, though, with a ladylike cowl necked black and grey striped top with a brooch taming the weird neck.

    Facebook. I’m afraid this is normal, now. People hear at the most inappropriate times, inbetween lolcatz and politics, and it’s not fair and it’s not nice. Unfortunately until a social media etiquette evolves it’ll be like the early days of telephone with people dispensing with formalities and simply shouting down the line.

    I hate writing the cards, too, but it’s better than having to say the words. The good thing about it being someone you cared about is you sort of don’t have to offer condolences so much, since you, too are bereaved. Sometimes it is good to say something or ask how someone is doing, but only if you feel comfortable with it. Towards the end, my cousin’s girlfriend, well, wife, we call it now in the MODERN world looked after my auntie. I told her before I left the wake that I’d thought she’d done a great job, and she said “I kept her alive, and she kept me real” which again did not make me cry. Much.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Allergies. Probably the same allergies that Dad has. It’s ok. Nothing to be ashamed of. There are allergies everywhere.

      I wore a black skirt and tights and a deep purple top and a black sweater and I looked pretty and people at work thought I had a job interview so I had to say, “Nope. Going to a wake right after work” so that was a buzzkill.

      I didn’t say much of anything. I just hugged her kids and her grandkids and was the comic relief, which seemed to go over well. They seemed to need some comic relief. I did tell my parents that I’d talked to you on Facebook and I had to die first so I didn’t have to go through THEIR funeral and they didn’t seem to like that much but when I told them me + having to be the one getting all the condolences = probably me screaming and hiding in the basement, they nodded like maybe me dying tomorrow would be a good idea.

      Like

      • elaine4queen

        It’s nice to feel understood.

        Actually, in a way, wearing something sober to work so that people get it that you are grieving is probably no bad thing. I am glad that you were the comic relief. People are rubbish at feelings. Probably needed some.

        Like

  • the diarist

    I am so sorry, Amy. It is the hardest, losing the people we love, who meant childhood and memory and goofiness (no one with that twinkle in her eye while wearing an elf-ear cap doesn’t have some goofy. I can tell. Not to mention funny faces.) and are a part of what family and home means.

    I am sorry.

    Like

  • the_lunatic

    I relate too much to this, I never know what to effing say. So, in my lack of saying the right thing, know that I’m thinking it.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. It is the hardest, isn’t it? I’m sure whatever we say goes in one ear and out the other – the person grieving probably isn’t going over comments in their head and thinking, “Amy didn’t say ‘I’m sorry for your loss!’ She just GAVE ME A SAD LOOK!” but I rely very heavily on my words, spoken or written, and when they’re absent, I really feel that loss.

      Like

  • lynnettedobberpuhl

    Your Aunt Jan sounds like one of the best of ladies, who lived a good life and I am sure counted you among her blessings. Grieving is the high price we pay for loving, but worth every moment. I hope you find some comfort among the others who loved her, even if it is all a bit awful. I am sorry for your loss.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. And I did – it was wonderful seeing my relatives, some of whom I haven’t seen since I was really young (I had to keep asking Mom “Quick! Who’s this one? AND HOW AM I RELATED TO HIM?!?!” but I kind of love meeting relatives and fitting into my head how it all goes together so it was ok. I have a LOT of relatives.)

      Like

  • Mer

    Hugs all around for you and your family.

    Like

  • Samantha

    I understand completely about not knowing what to say, and not knowing how to handle it. My boyfriend is like you, he tends to handle death and grief with humor, and sometimes it’s hard for me because I’m ultra sensitive and even with people I don’t know well just hearing the news can affect me deeply, but I have no idea what to say. I don’t even know what to say when my parents call to tell me bad news about someone being sick, etc., I just sit there without talking because I have no idea what to say. “Thanks for letting me know”? or “That’s not good”? I have no idea. I feel that it would be great if we could all as a people unitedly acknowledge that dealing with this is hard, and that everyone could figure out how to step back and accept how different people deal with things. Maybe humor is jarring, but maybe someone needs to laugh.

    I think you’ve done a great thing here with writing down your memories of her. I think that is probably the best thing you can do, to honor her memory and the kind of person she was to you and to those around her. That she was special. It sounds like she would have been a fantastic person to have known and had in your life.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. It is hard, and don’t people at wakes just seem to know how to handle such things? I wonder if it’s innate, or just something they’ve learned from having to attend so many of them. I’ve only attended a few. Most of them when I was quite young. Maybe I just don’t have the practice. (NO, UNIVERSE, I AM NOT ASKING FOR THE PRACTICE!!!)

      She was wonderful. She was just a ray of sunshine. You couldn’t not smile when you were with her. I loved her so, so much.

      Like

  • Ashley Austrew

    I relate to this so much. I never know what to say, what to do. The honesty in this post is amazing, and when all else fails, honesty is what works the best. I’m so sorry she’s gone and that you have to miss her because she sounds awesome and I’m like you in that I prefer awesome people to be around.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. I wasn’t even going to write about this, and I really did start with just being snarky about wakes, but then thought, “this is bullshit, you’re totally writing about the big problem, here.” I talk to myself in my head a lot. I use a lot of tough love.

      She was awesome. She was really an amazing person, and I loved her so much. And if nothing else, I totally got to see photos of my family from the olden days, and one was of my grandmother in her early teens, and she was not only grogeous, she had SUCH AN ATTITUDE. All red lipstick and scowls and crossed arms. I want that photo in my living room SO BADLY. She looked like someone who would have been putting together plane engine parts. She was SO FEROCIOUS.

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    I’m sorry about your great aunt.

    Hope the wake goes well. Or at least as well as can be expected.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. Wasn’t too bad, got there and back safely, saw relatives I haven’t seen in years, which was nice, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t put my foot in my mouth this time. So all in all, could have been much worse.

      Like

  • mfennvt

    I’m sorry for your loss, Amy, and that you found out via Facebook. Ugh! Hugs to you and yours. I hope the wake isn’t too awful.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. The wake wasn’t bad. My people are wonderful. At least I have that, when I have to go to these things. I have a really top-notch family. (And I’m not the only one who uses humor at these things. We were ALL inappropriately humoring today. It’s apparently genetic.)

      Like

  • Words for Worms

    I try to avoid wakes and funerals because when faced with death, I turn into a weepy ghoulish person. I think I’m getting better at this, but that’s unfortunate, because it’s only because more people I know have died. Your great aunt sounds like a great lady. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sure she will be missed by many.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      She was great. Thank you. And I’m weepy, too – only not in front of people. I have a complete a total phobia about letting anyone see me cry. So if I’m going to, I go to ground like a mole. Seriously. I hide. In my car, in the bathroom, whatever. I cried plenty privately for her, but not a tear in front of people. I refuse to cry in front of people. I have no idea where this came from. I am apparently a stoic. Who knew?

      Like

  • An Embarrassment of Freedom

    Take good care and sending along comforting thoughts.

    Like

  • pandahill

    Damn invisible onions everywhere, makes me look like I shed a tear! You’re amazing, and I wish I knew the family you’ve lost, they sound like the kind of people that might not make it into a history book because of a great feat, but touch the lives of everyone they know, and life would have been hollow without – and that’s something truly special.
    Such a poignant piece. Evidently I’m writing about grief this weekend too; I lost my Dad 10 years ago on the 27th…. Still as sharp as ever.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you! I am lucky – I have an amazing, supportive, and most of all fierce family. Our loyalty knows no bounds. It was wonderful growing up with a safety net like that.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your father. I can only imagine that never goes away. I was thinking on the way home tonight it’s been 16 years since I lost my grandmother, and I think about her almost every day. Some people just never leave us.

      Like

  • Kris

    Aw, Amy. Thank you for your honesty. That’s one of the reasons I love your blog – you are HONEST about your feelings, whether it’s humor or grief. Your Aunt sounds like she was a great person, who touched you (and others) very deeply. And that is an awesome thing, so of course, you will miss her. As someone said above, grief is the price we pay for loving. And, well, it sucks cuz it hurts, but it’s how we know how much love there was, and still is. I think you’ve said you’r not a hugging-type person, but I’m sending you virtual hugs, and many, many good thoughts. Hang in there. Glad your dad is gonna be there with you.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. It went well enough – sad, but nice to see everyone, even though it was for a melancholy reason. And she was an amazing person, and it was nice to have everyone there celebrating that.

      Like

  • becomingcliche

    I actually really am sorry for your loss. She sounds like an incredible woman. I love the photo of her in the hat. She looks so joyful!

    When I die, I am going to be cremated and my ashes turned into a diamond that my husband will have to wear as a piercing some place really tender. I’ll be a constant irritation to him. Almost like I’m still here, you know?

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      She was great. She was filled with joy and laughter. I adored her.

      Hee! I told my mom about the “you-can-be-turned-into-a-diamond” thing a while back, and she was HORRIFIED. “WHAT? People would DO that? Wear their loved one as a DIAMOND?” I laughed so hard at her disgust over this. It was just the best.

      Like

  • The Waiting

    I’m so sorry about the passing of your aunt, Amy. She sounds like a beautiful, strong woman, and the world was lucky to have her.

    I am TOTALLY with you on not knowing what to say to people when their loved ones die. Those first two sentences of my comment took me forever to write because everytime I wrote something to express my condolences for what you’re going through, the words sounded so trite. They still do. I even hate the word “condolences” because it should only exist on a pastel greeting cards in the dollar bin at Hallmark. It is so gross and lame. You’d think I’d know what to say by now because I have been to waaaaay too many funerals for someone my age, but no, the words just never come. Just the feels. My feels are there. I hope you know that.

    I hope the wake is free of people pretending that they’re making a visit to the Wailing Wall. When my dad died, my stupid dumb cousin made a scene the whole time about how much she missed him and how inconsolable she was. She had MAYBE spent a totally of 48 hours with him during her whole life. I wanted to punch her. So I hope she doesn’t come to the wake. I’ll give you a heads up, though, if she is.

    xoxo

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Just got home. Didn’t know what to say to anyone. Made my sad-face. Doubt it was what they wanted. I AM THE WORST AT THESE THINGS.

      Thank you. She was wonderful. And I ABSOLUTELY know your feels are there. Mine are, too, I just have no idea how best to express them without sounding like a total freakazoid.

      No one was wailing-walling. Well, there was some crying, but it was restrained, and it was the people who SHOULD be crying. Immediate family members. More leaking than “WHY GOD WHYYYYY”-ing. I don’t mind that.

      I HAVE ONE OF THOSE COUSINS TOO. OMG, let’s get them in a room together, maybe they’ll destroy one another and then we’ll be so much better off, right?

      Like

  • cm

    I’m so sorry to hear this news. I know how much you cared about her, and her struggle the past couple years. I hope you find comfort in your memories and spending some time with family. I’m sure the allergies will be acting up.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      The wake was ok. I didn’t cry in front of anyone, and I didn’t say anything boneheaded. Those were my main two goals. NAILED IT!

      Thank you. She was amazing, and she will be so missed.

      Like

  • Kristen Armstrong (@krispix24)

    Amy, I am so sorry for your loss. Life has had me at more than my fair share of wakes and funerals over the last few years both as one giving the condolences and receiving them, and I can say that there is no right/good thing to say. I’m sorry for your loss is about as good as it gets. And while it doesn’t make it better, for me knowing that people care does help.

    As a side note I despise open caskets. The make up is never good and what is there is not that person at all, just a shell! I told the hubs if it comes to that and he ever does that to me I will haunt him until the end of his days. And not as a nice ghost, but an I am here to make your life a living hell ghost!

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I love that you know that OPEN CASKETS ARE A MISTAKE. Seriously, why doesn’t everyone know this? THEY ARE THE WORST!!! But when I say that, people are all “oh, no, that’s just what we do.” IT IS NOT WHAT *I* DO DON’T YOU EVEN DARE!!!

      Thank you. And I’m sorry you’ve been at so many of your own wakes/funerals lately. How about life cuts us all a break now, huh? LISTEN UP, UNIVERSE!!!

      Like

  • sj

    I read this yesterday and sobbed and sobbed, but couldn’t bring myself to say anything (except through email, but you know that) and then read it again today.

    Your dad would be mad that I’m not blaming my tears on allergies, I think.

    When my Nan died, none of us were allowed to wear black. She wanted us to celebrate that she was finally getting to be with my PopPop again.

    Her memorial service was amazing. Everyone stood up and talked about how wonderful she’d been, how she’d been such a force for good in her community. I talked about how I’d always begged her for the recipe for her coconut macaroons, only to find out it had come off a bag of coconut. Heh.

    I miss her all the time. Baby girl was born the day after what would have been her birthday.

    I love you and your face, Amy. <3

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    • lucysfootball

      Nah. Ladies don’t have to have allergies. Only MENFOLKS.

      You said just the right things. Don’t worry. Death is the worst and the hardest, isn’t it? It takes away our words. And our words are the most important things.

      I love YOU and YOUR face. I like that we’re both in agreement on that. That works out nicely.

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      • sj

        But I reached out my hand and laid it lightly over his, and said one of those inadequate things about it being all right.

        He turned his palm up and clasped my fingers, hard. “No, it is not. But it is done, and now we must seek our happiness in what we have made, and set aside these phantom joys.”

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  • sunraeny

    As someone not that long ago on the receiving end of a lot of “I’m so sorry” at a wake I can tell you it’s not so much “what” you say but it’s so much more that you showed up at the wake to show you care. No one really remembers who said what when it’s all over with (unless you say something really stupid which people do) but we will never forget that you were there to show respect for the one who passed and to show support for your friend / co-worker / family member etc

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    • lucysfootball

      I was SO WORRIED I would say something stupid. I have a history of that. (I have this nervous-talking thing I do where I do NOT filter and OH the things I say. It’s just the worst.) I didn’t, for once, though. Thank goodness. And thank you for this – this is just what I needed to hear. You’re wonderful and I miss the heck out of you.

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  • sunraeny

    And PS I’m very sorry about your aunt! I’m glad you have great memories of her :)

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  • Heather

    Your Aunt Jan was an amazing woman, for sure.

    I never know what to say about death, either. I AM sorry for the people who lose someone–I know how rough it is to lose someone you really care about. It’s the big suck.

    Without going into how I feel about funerals and all the rituals that go along with them, I will just say that when I die it will be all about cremation and a big celebration. I don’t want people to wail over my death–I want them to celebrate my life and be happy.

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    • lucysfootball

      AGREED. I already made a plan for when I’m dead. Cremation and someone needs to read some poetry and then everyone should eat so much good food that they can’t move. If anyone gets sappy, I’ll come back from the dead and poke them in the nose in a haunty fashion.

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