Thursday, March 19, 2009

when all is said and done... 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.


cheatymoon said...

It's good to write all of this down. I understand how you feel about going home, or having questions about which place is home. (I moved around a lot too - this is the longest I've lived anywhere since I as about 12.)

I hope your family finds a way to remain connected somehow. We have had this happen in my family after my grandparents died, and it is sad that people don't speak to each other. :-(

And I have slew of John Denver on my iPod. I would love to see W. Virginia.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of your "where I'm from" post, which I just re-read. Still love it. :)

Sweet T

Kristin.... said...

Welcome back. You were missed. I've been thinking of you this week and wondering how you made out.

I love John Denver. Of course my kids get to experience him on the Muppet show DVD we have. There is just something so honest and good about him.

I am not good at funerals. I've only been to three, but they were incredibly difficult for me. I agree with you on cremation.

I can't go back to the house where my grandparents lived (my grammie is still alive, but has Alzheimers and lives here in ME now). The new buyers took a beautiful white house and painted it brown. I need my memories to stay the way I remember them from being a kid. I can't go to my grandfather's plot at the cemetery (I was 14 when he died); it's too painful, still.

Ok, writing a tome. Stopping now.

Antoinette Meaterson said...

I love John Denver, but Final Destination scared the crap out of me, and now Meat and I joke whenever we hear it. He REFUSES to listen to it in the car. But that doesn't keep me from listening to it at work.

*HUGS* That's all I have to say about that.

drollgirl said...

oh you have been through so much. i am glad you made it through the funeral, although it wasn't all you needed. it is all so tough. and when relatives don't get along or fight over possessions around funeral time, it is truly the ugly side of humanity.

on the upside, i am glad you made it home. and you are thinking about it all and trying to figure out how to deal.

i wish i had some good advice. i hope you are ok.

Hotch Potchery said...

I have had such a hard time commenting lately because everything just sounds so, patent, if you know what I mean.

I really am sorry that you lost your grandmother...and even though viewings creep me out, I can see where that would provide so much more closure....go through the motions.

How did the kids do? I hope you will be able to feel better and get back to writing posts about blowjobs and buttsex soon.

Anonymous said...

In our family it's not a funeral without at least one blowout. I think every family has to have at least one "swizzle stick" to stir things up! Anyway, glad your back!

Pandora said...

My experience is totally the opposite of yours.I've always been extremely against cremation,and wanted to be buried.But after my dad died,I decided to rather be cremated,and have my remains buried with my parents.Not only does it save space,but it is a symbol of our closeness.I couldn't decide if I wanted to see my dad on the day of his funeral,but at the last minute I decided to go view him.I wasn't horrified,but I wouldn't say that it was a good thing either.I don't think I will do it with my mother someday.Because I will forever have that image of my dad in my mind.

creative kerfuffle said...

only---maybe i can dig up some pics of WV (that's westbygodvirginia) : ) and post them. it's beautiful.

sweet t---thank you. i reread it too and it felt good.

kristin---i'm a glutton for punishment on going back to where you really shouldn't--it's like sticking your tongue in that hole after you've had your wisdom teeth pulled.

tonie--i don't know final destination but just from the title i don't know that i could listen to it right now.

drollgirl--fighting over the stuff hasn't started yet, but i'm sure there will be issues.

hotch--the kids did great actually. they weren't THAT close to her so it didn't hit them as hard. plus we were out of town, staying w/ family, the bro and his fam were around so it was like a treat for them in a weird way. thank you sooooo much for making me laugh at getting back to blowjobs and buttsex! ROFLMAO. srsly--price.fucking.less.

crystal--if we had just one swizzle stick it would be good but i think we have a trio at least.

penny---i totally get where you're coming from. when my grandpa died we were in germany and tho my dad came home the rest of us couldn't. i am thankful i didn't see him in the hospital because i would have carried that w/ me forever. but, even though i saw both gma's in the hospital i think it was still good for me.

broad minded said...

life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains, blowing like the breeze.

i know all the words by heart, we used to sing it camping.

glad you are back.

i won't drive by my childhood home, which is only a half a mile from where my parents are now b/c four years ago when i was pregnant, someone bought it and burned it down as a fire dept exercise and built a new house. i don't know if i can bear to drive by and it not be there.

the spouse wants to be cremated and his remains put in a bud bottle and tossed in the dumpster. not sure i am going to follow his wishes . . .

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got to go and be with your family. Warren and I got life insurance a few years ago and the guy really encouraged us to do a will...we still haven't done it.

I'm glad you are back! Tracy

Astarte said...

I think it's hard enough to go back to where you grew up and see how nothing is as you remember it without there being yet another reason for sadness to go along with it. I am so sorry that this was all so hard, and I'm glad it's over.

I wonder, too, what will happen to our family when DH's parents pass on. I'm an only child, so there's really nothing to think about there, but after DH's parents are gone, will we still have family gatherings with his sisters? Actually, I know we'll see Jen, who I'm close with, but I doubt we'll see Kathy much at all. It *is* weird and sad, but I suppose that's the way of things, since people rarely know their second and third cousins well, if at all.

Gal Friday said...

I have been meaning to catch up with your latest blogs...and read this one through a few times, actually.
As Only A Movie said --it is good that you got all(or most) of your feelings about the whole experience with the funeral and going back to your home state down in words.
I have much the same feeling about Maine, like you do with WV. I moved away from there when I was 10 years old, so have essentially lived elsewhere most of my life. And yet I get all shivery and excited, and think things even look better when I cross the state line when I visit. I have that same sense of "this is where my soul feels best".