Like most people I know, I do not like death. I ACCEPT death for what it is, and I know it’s this awful, inevitable end we must all face, but I absolutely do not like it and wish to avoid dealing with it at all costs. My Uncle died in 2006 and my boyfriend’s grandmother passed away in February of 2013 – I kind of prided myself on the fact that I had avoided funerals and viewings for that entire span of my life. Everyone handles it differently, no one handles it well, and I, frankly, don’t want to handle it at all. Death is still such an unknown to us, which I think is my true fear. It’s not the end of life, it’s the “Well, what the hell happens NOW?!” situation. I feel like that is why we wrap ourselves in these traditions of a mass, and last rites and an entombment – the dead don’t care what happens to their bodies and they probably don’t even know what’s going on after they leave them. These rituals only try to bring comfort to those of us left here, but they don’t ever really answer questions or tell us what is REALLY happening out there or make me feel like my spirit or my essence or my ‘being’ won’t end up being less than nothing after it vacates this meat suit.
My morbid thought process today is due to the fact that my step-grandmother passed away on Saturday. I’ve been a part of her family for something like, 24 years now, so it’s not like we didn’t know each other well and I am sad that she’s passed on, but I’m not overwhelmingly upset or going through the 5 stages of grief over it. I saw her several times a year and always sat down to chat when we were at an event together. She accepted me and my sister pretty easily into the family when other members did not. She was always honest, a great cook and prided herself on her family and how her home was decorated. I have many memories of her, from the Christmas morning brunches, to the shoe themed bathroom, and I truly don’t think she ever said a mean word to me. I will remember her fondly and I am thankful to have known her, but I selfishly feel like I should be less involved in this whole situation than I am. I mean, I’ve been asked, and out of catholic guilt and respect agreed, to do a reading at the mass on Saturday, assuming of course that the bible I may read from doesn’t spontaneously burst into flames as I approach. Now, Ma had 5 children – each child is married and all have 2 or more of their own, except the youngest who has one child, but that STILL amounts to a heaping pile of children and grandchildren….and yet, the non-biological step granddaughter is doing a reading at the mass?! Are there going to be THAT many readings or something?! I mean, shit. For reals?
Now, you can see where the crazy really comes in and the guilt goes through the roof – I cannot get past the fact that I will be spending approximately 8 hours at viewings and another 2-3 at the funeral itself this weekend, MY weekend, away from my overwhelmingly frustrating means of paying bills, AKA my job, and I am even scheming on how to get out of at least an hour or two. My job has me so stressed out right now that I look forward to a day off in the same way a kid looks forward to Christmas. My weekends are precious to me – this whole working for a living thing SUCKS – so losing a weekend to something like death is just about the last thing on my To Do list and almost as much fun as waxing my hoo-ha. And yet I think, this woman has just shuffled off the mortal coil and here I am worried about spending my day off of work at viewings. She no longer has a choice on what to spend her weekends doing and here I am feeling resentful at spending ONE of mine honoring her life. Shit, I’m going to hell.