It’s been about 2 weeks since my grandmother died. Last week was the funeral. I’ve tried to sort through the myriad of feelings that come with this period of change and death.
While death is generally viewed as a time for sadness, it can also be a time of reflection and celebration. At least that’s how I like to see funerals. Not a mourning of what has passed, but a celebration of what that person has brought to your life, the life of your family and the world.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t feel like what you get with Catholic ceremonies.
Now, I’ve been to a lot of funerals. I worked at a cemetery. Part of the job was that someone from the cemetery has to be at the funeral and can not leave until after the body had been laid to rest and was secured. I have also been to easily over 50 Catholic funerals. Most of the people who were buried in the cemetery I used to work at were Italian. So, I’m quite familiar with the process of the Catholic funeral. However, the most depressing funeral that I attended was an Armenian funeral. It was hard to sit through. It didn’t help that the deceased was in her fifties and her much older mother was at the funeral and almost threw herself in the grave.
Needless to say, I’m pretty familiar with what happens at a funeral.
The entire time that I was there I had a hard time divorcing myself from what I have always done when I was working at the cemetery. I felt that I needed to work. Even though it was a funeral for a member of my family, I still felt like that was what I needed to do.
I’m still trying to feel less emotionally drained. The process tends to be an introverts nightmare. You are surrounded by people with no real way of getting time to not be around people.While I feel slightly less drained, I’m still trying to sort how I’m feeling.
While I’m not entirely surprised that I don’t have as strong a feeling of loss, a part of me is bothered that this situation doesn’t make me cry. It feels like something that should happen, but I can’t.
I wonder if a part of that is because I’ve always felt like the black sheep of the family. There was never really the same connection that I have with my mother’s mother. I think in that sense, it makes it more difficult to have sense of sadness that you would think that I should have.
I think another thing that I’m feeling is that I have this sense that I’ll never really been seen as part of the family. I go to family stuff and so forth, but at the same time… I don’t always get that sense. Some times I feel like I’m there as a courtesy.
It’s not exactly a great place to be. It’s something that I need to work my way through and figure out how best to deal with it. More than anything I also think that I need more time where I can spend more time being somewhat hermit-like and doing what I love and want to do.
I’ll close with a sad, but poetic anecdote. My grandfather has dementia. His memory is very short. He doesn’t have much of a short-term memory. As my mom and dad were taking him back to the rest home he asked where his wife was. He was told that he had died and that her funeral was earlier in the day. He asked if he went. He was told he