....you just get put back in the ground.
i am better now, i think. it has been a strange week for me. i don't really know how to write all the things in my head, the thoughts, emotions, etc.
going to wv this week had so many layers of sadness. as an army brat we never lived in one place for more than 3 yrs at a time and in fact the hubs and i have now lived in nc longer than i've ever lived anywhere in my life. during the car ride up or back, i can't remember which it was, one of the kids asked if they were west virginians. we said no, they were born in nc and have only ever lived in nc so they're north carolinians. the girl decided that the hubs is a japkansian (since he was born on an army base in japan but his family roots are in arkansas). the hubs said at this point we could just say we were from nc. nope, i'm from wv, regardless. i only lived there off and on as a child, a year here, six months there and then my 4 yrs of college, but there is something primal that speaks to me when i go home. maybe it's the childhood memories, maybe it's the mountains, maybe it's the family history, i don't know. but i feel strongly about it. i've always joked that when you drive through the tunnel between virginia and west virginia they should pipe in john denver's country roads. of course they haven't, but this trip i did pop in the cd and play it (shut up, yes i have a john denver cd). it made me cry.
i had a few thoughts on perceptions while i was there too. monday afternoon my brother and i drove by the house my grandma lived in before she moved to nc. the house we knew as kids. the only house she and my grandpa lived in, where they raised their kids, etc. i remember it so differently, so much bigger. the yard seemed the size of a postage stamp this time, the neighborhood old and falling on hard times. they'd cut down big trees and it was just sad. we also drove by my other grandparent's house, it too seemed smaller, less significant. though i've been to wv off and on in the last 10 yrs it had been a long time since i'd seen the town, the places of my childhood and how much things had changed. that made me sad. these landmarks of my history--the skating rink, the neighborhoods, the elementary school i went to off and on, the new neighborhoods and all the retail and all of that change made me sad. it reminded me of that saying, you can never go home again. mainly because everything changes.
the other thing that struck me is how people in the same family have such different memories. for me, the death of my other grandma was a huge, huge thing. she died 10 years ago. when i was talking to a couple of my cousins about this it didn't seem to be as big a deal to them. granted, they were 18/19 and 14 at the time as opposed to my 30, but still. their perception of that event was so different from mine. not to say that they didn't mourn for her or love her or miss her now, but i don't think the impact was as severe.
i also felt older this trip. i am the oldest grandchild (on both sides of my family) by a good 5-6 yrs. i only see my first cousins and their families at weddings/funerals so it was surprising to me to realize how old their children were and to see one of my younger cousins, who is now 24, but whom i babysat when i was in college and he was a toddler. he has a beard for god's sake and quite possibly will get married soon.
the funeral. i hated it. before this i was on the fence about whether i'd be cremated or not. i will not. walking in to that tiny chapel and seeing a tiny gold box on a table was not what i expected. it wasn't enough for me. i need the viewing and the drive to the cemetery and whatever else normally goes w/ funerals. this was short and not enough. my brother read the eulogy i wrote; he did a great job. afterwards so many people told us both what a good job we did. i know they meant well, but it felt weird. i kept thinking, please god, do not let any of my other family members get the bright idea to have me write their eulogies when the time comes. i just don't think i could do it.
there wasn't a big family get together. well, there was a lunch at my great uncle's after the service, but i didn't know many of the people there. my dad's extended family is not what i would call close. i have vague memories of one of my great uncles from my childhood, but the other one i think i'd probably seen once before.
so, we're home. i think my aunt and uncle want to clean out my grandma's rooms as soon as possible. i don't know how well that will go. it will be hard. i also don't know what this will bring for my family going forward. i fear there will be some blow out at some point, although i really don't care to be involved in whatever happens. i think my aunt and uncle won't have much to do w/ my folks going forward.
part of me also feels a need to nail down where and how i want to be buried. the hubs has been wanting to do this for years and i just didn't want to think about it. i think i'm ready to make these plans now.