Survived by….

Today was mom’s funeral. There was a larger turnout than expected.  Many kind friends came to paid their respects. I was so appreciative of everyone who helped and who was involved. I’m glad my parents met these kind people and I am glad they will be there as support for my dad in the months to come.

My dad got up and spoke about his and mom’s life together. He told how they met, who introduced them and told of funny anecdotes of their early life together. He was witty and funny. His dry sense of humor was appreciated. He read a poem at her service as well. Mom would be so proud of him and how he did today.

My mom’s sister and two of her brothers and three of her niece/nephews were able to come along with a brother in law and sister in law. It was good to see everyone, unfortunate that is was under sad circumstances. My uncle, who first introduced my parents, was asked to read mom’s eulogy. It was a difficult day, softened by the love and distraction of family and friends. I suspect more difficult days are soon ahead.

The difficult thing about grief, for me, is watching how it effects those I love. When my brother in law passed suddenly three years ago, the worst thing for me was seeing my sister and her kids in pain. I wanted so badly to take the heart ache away from them all and somehow make everything better. This past week, as I’ve been with my dad leading up to the funeral, it has been difficult to watch him. He is a stoic person by nature but there have been moments where he’s teared up and talked about what he’s thinking or feeling. Today has been a roller coaster but I fear the most tumultuous days are ahead.

At the graveside service, my sister heard something which sparked a snide/funny thought (it happens, we have Houtz blood). My mom was the one whom she first wanted to tell, but mom’s gone. I suspect the little things like that will hit me hard when I least expect it. I’m not looking forward to that.

I am one who likes to know what’s ahead. I get anxious when I fly by the seat of my pants. Grief is an unpredictable animal and I don’t like the unpredictable. I don’t like not knowing what is ahead. I don’t like being unprepared for trying situations. I feel like I need to “fix” things for others so they don’t suffer too much but in the process, I unknowingly ignore my own needs. I don’t want to crash and burn. I don’t want to see others crash and burn.

I’m writing numb this evening. Sleep deprived and two glasses of wine on board, I may not make much sense with this post. I can’t write eloquently this evening. Tonight, it’s a post of my rambling thoughts, nothing more.

I hope all is well in the world of with whomever decides to read this post. G’night. xx

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The Dreaded Phone Call.

Sunday morning at 5:50 am, I received the phone call I have been dreading since August 2015.

On the fifth of June 2016, my mom passed away in the early morning, sometime after 3 am. I was not surprised when I got this call. Mom had been declining over the past three weeks. My boys and I went to visit my parents last week for two days. The week before I had been relaying the daily reports that I was receiving from my dad. My oldest son was afraid mom would die before they got a chance to see her. She held out until after our visit and for that I am thankful.

I know I still have not absorbed what has transpired. I know she’s gone, I know I am currently at my parents house-now my dad’s house and she is not here. It doesn’t seem like it’s fully set in and I suppose that’s the “numbness” people speak of when they’ve lost someone.

I went with my dad to the funeral home to firm up the final arrangements. My dad wanted my opinion on the color of her casket. We went with a pearl mauve. It’s not a 1965 Ford Mustang (her beloved first car), but I hope it will do. I found a pretty flower spray for the top of her casket. It is made up of red roses and pink tiger lilies. She liked those two colors a lot. I hope none of the colors clash (I’m actually a little concerned about that, come to think of it). I chose her outfit: one of her favorite blue tops with lots of sparkle paired with a long purple swing skirt. I chose coordinating dangly, sparkly earrings to match the blue of her shirt. She may not have paired these two ever but they seemed fitting. She liked my fashion sense at times. Here’s hoping I haven’t failed this time. Thursday we get to preview her before the service. As much as I am not looking forward to that, I hope she looks as much like she did when she was not so ill. I don’t want her siblings to get a massive shock at the viewing. I also sincerely hope they’ve plucked her chin hairs…she would hope that as well to be honest.

I bought my outfit that I am wearing to her service. Not your typical all black, it didn’t seem fitting somehow. I am wearing bright coral, cropped bottoms with a black top and coral jewelry to match. My nails will be painted light blue and my hair will be pulled up in a messy bun. When I was checking out, the cashier said, “This must be for a special occasion!”. I told her , “Yes, it is.” and smiled. The cashier didn’t need to know the details. The funeral is going to be hard enough. I don’t want to wear “sad” clothes, even if it does not seem “appropriate”. Mom rebelled against “appropriate” and any related ideas of the kind. One of my friends who knew mom said she wants a picture of me all dressed up. She also said mom would approve of my sassy attire.

Family and friends from Kentucky will be arriving on Thursday. I have to remember that I cannot manage everyone’s grief. Everyone who comes and visits will have a different experience and feel differently than I will. They will have to process this loss in their own way and time. It hurts me to see others hurting. I’m fine until my dad gets chocked up over memories. This morning, it was the rabbits in the yard that set us off. He said he would get her started for the day and tell her if he saw any bunnies in the yard. He’d tell her they stopped by to say “hi”. She always liked watching the bunnies and the quail running around. It’s probably the little things we remember which will be the most difficult over the coming months.

Last night, I stayed up kind of late. My dad wanted me to help chose the music which will be playing during the slide show at her service. The slide show is my most hated part of any funeral I’ve ever attended. The gentleman who is putting together all of the pictures stopped by this afternoon. I heard him say that the pictures tell the story of the person who has passed. He said when the show is put together right, it will rip right through your heart. I know this to be true as I’ve attended two funerals where pictures were shown. I could not watch either of them as I was already a blubbering, snotty mess. I honestly think I will leave during that part of the service, just to save my heart a little.

I chose: Debussy – Arabesque No. 1 (Ciccolini) for it’s cheerful, dreamy piano. The comments I read from people who had listened to this piece sealed the deal as well. I hope it’s used. Otherwise, I spent precious time awake and crying on the couch for nothing.

One of my uncles is going to film the service for my almost 93 year old grandmother and the others who cannot come. I hope we have planned a suitable and fitting send off. My dad included a slide in she show of mom laughing. My aunt took the picture on their last vacation together. Included is the caption “Forever is a long time, spend it with one who makes you laugh” (or something to that effect). I felt that was very fitting. She certainly loved to laugh. I know there will be many who will miss her laughter and sense of humor.