Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winter, Storms, Greetings, Goodbyes

When I got the news my Grandma had passed away, calls were made and plans were formed, as they always are in times like this. We were expecting it, but it never makes it any easier. The funeral was to be held in Kentucky. As we leave Texas for parts northward, the air gets colder, and I enjoy the cold. I've been missing Winter lately, but even Winter's cold embrace can't still the pain I feel in my heart. As we travel, I see the destruction that the ice storms have wrought on the countryside. Trees are broken off, snapped as if an angry giant has walked through the land with his arms outstretched, breaking the treetops off as he lumbers across the land.

We arrive in the small Kentucky town my Grandma called home years's your typical small town, where we are greeted with the 'you ain't from around here, are ya' looks from the locals. We get to the funeral home, and find our parents there. Hugs and tears are shared as we greet each other , and finally we enter the funeral home.

It's always weird to see someone you knew in life lying in their coffin...I surround myself with images of death, skulls and vampires and such are in every corner of my house, yet it doesn't make it any easier when you have to see a loved one in such a state. She looks so small, I think to myself. She loved the color pink, and she's wearing a pink outfit and jacket...she would've liked that, I think.

Relatives soon start to flow in. Some I haven't seen in years, some, like my oldest brother's kids, I've never met until now. Most of them have no idea who I am...the last time most of them saw me, I was either a skinny kid with shoulder-length hair , or a fat guy with sligthly longer hair than shoulder-length. My oldest brother, who I haven't seen in ages, looks at me and says, 'You definately ain't that kid anymore'. Cousins and aunts arrive, some genuinely happy to see me (once they figure out who the Hell I am), others about as friendly as the locals. For whatever reason, there have always been feuds and fights amongst my mom's side of the family, and even now, at this sad time, some people have to let their egos dictate their actions instead of their hearts, so glares, snubs, cold shoulders, and even turning one's back to us happens as the day progresses. This is the last thing anyone needs right now, especially my Mom, but assholes will be assholes, I guess. As my brother succinctly puts it, 'Fuck 'em'.

Funeral viewings are one of the strangest gatherings I have ever attended, I think to myself. Here we all are, talking, crying, laughing, while a dead person in a box lies in front of the room. It's been said that Americans have a hard time dealing with Death, so maybe this is a good thing that we're all doing here, in this little funeral home in Kentucky...dealing with Death, each in our own way. I'm trying to be strong for my Mom especially, but it's hard. We manage to make it through the day, then we go to our motel room to get some much needed sleep(we drove straight through to Kentucky).


Charles Gramlich said...

Always, at every family or friend related funeral I've been at, I'm struck by the incongruity of how life goes on and conversation flows even though the dead person is there and can say nothing. The strange mixture of sadness and visiting, of tears and gossip, and even laughter that happens, almost boggles the mind.

Scott said...


I feel the same. You can be having a nice talk with a cousin you haven't seen in ages, and then you turn yuor head and see the person in the coffin, and the situation is slammed right back home hard. It's strange.

Lana Gramlich said...

Personally I prefer the Jewish way--closed coffin. Mom & Dad were both handled that way & as a result, I only have memories of them in life. My cousin once forced me to look at my dead uncle in a coffin (mistaking my desire not to see him dead w/"shyness," somehow,) & to this day, I wish I hadn't.
To each their own, however. My sympathies, regardless.

Heff said...

I gotta agree with you AND Charles on this one. Funerals are just weird. Everyone makes "the view", is quite for a few seconds, then walks back into the crowd. It's almost NO TIME from that point when someone opens up with "How 'bout this weather we're having ?"

Heff said...

Um, that was supposed to be "quiet". btw...

Scott said...


Thank you.


I think that maybe it's peoples' way of dealing with the situation, which is a weird one in the first place.

Virginia Lady said...

I hate viewings. They've always seemed a little creepy to me, but it was even worse when we did it in the deceased home. I think every family has people that don't get along and they deal with their grief by lashing out at those they dislike. Almost giving an outlet to their anger, I suspect.

Scott said...


I suspect that the bad behavior was partially acting out of a sort...but at the heart of it, it's just petty behavior and attitudes.