We held the service for my mom on Saturday.
I am not well-suited to such occasions. I can understand the appeal, in theory: a community coming together to celebrate a life and mourn its passing, taking comfort each other's company and renewing their bonds. I see it; but it doesn't work that way for me. I just want to take my grief and go sit with it a while in private. And while I deeply appreciate every single condolence I've received, at the same time I really just want people to stop trying to talk to me about this. (I have very definite feelings about ambivalence.) It was worse on Saturday, because everybody wanted to shake hands, or pat my shoulder, or offer hugs, which left me torn between Thank you for trying to comfort me and Just. Stop. Touching. Me. And it seems a bit mean-spirited to complain about people trying to be nice and sympathetic, especially when they're grieving too, but the whole thing just wore me out.
Despite that, it was a lovely ceremony. It took place in the Episcopal church that my parents have been attending since, um, I don't even know. Decades. The priest there is relatively new, but he handled it well; the whole thing was well done, tasteful, respectful. The readings were done by two of my father's siblings and one of my cousins. (My brother and I had both declined the chance to do a reading, and in the event I think that was very much for the better, at least for me.) Eulogies were offered by one of my mom's dearest friends, and by my father. Then Father and some of his music-friends did a pair of hymns, Who Will Sing For Me? and 'Til I'm Too Old To Die Young. The boys were well-behaved, though Secondborn had some trouble sitting still -- but I can't really blame him for that; it was a long ceremony, and he's not feeling well. (No idea if it's the same stuff Firstborn had last week or not, but we're back in "try to keep the fever down at a safe level" mode again. ::sigh:: )
There was a family dinner Friday night, and the Beautiful Woman's parents were kind enough to keep the boys so we could attend. After the service on Saturday, we went back to the house and made some lunch... and I napped in a near-coma for about two hours. After that we gathered ourselves again (including one of my cousins, who was staying with us -- I suppose that could have been an imposition, but instead it was lovely). There was, you see, a second family dinner that was scheduled for Saturday night, this one with an even looser definition of "family" involved.
Our definition of family is pretty loose, anyway. If you stand still long enough, you're probably kith. And there are plenty of people who've been around long enough that they might as well be kin. (It's not their fault. They just didn't run away fast enough.)
And I feel like I ought to add something more, try to tie everything together and make it all make sense. Maybe add some details about the eulogies, about the kind of impressions that Mom left behind her and around her.
I can't. I think I'm doing all right, and then I start thinking about that stuff and I just go to pieces. I haven't written any of the things I'd planned on writing, because to write anything meaningful I have to think about what I'm writing. I'm not sure I can do that to myself.
I'm not sure I can't.
Tomorrow -- today, really -- is Monday, and Monday is good for losing myself in mindless work. That's probably for the best. I have no idea what kind of shape I'm going to be in. We'll see how it goes.