Death is a funny thing. You may have no clue it’s coming, and then BAM, it hits you. In my grandmother’s case, we knew for months, and the dying process seemed to crawl by. And then one day you wake up and it’s over.
So then you start the funeral preparations, calling in family, trying to get everything planned for the big event. Folks know what to do, how to help. They bring food. They tell stories.
But my grandmother didn’t want a funeral, and we are honoring our wishes. So instead of a predictable plan, we have had to figure out our own way to deal with the loss. For my family, it meant a fun family dinner that first night, first sharing some hard information, and then transitioning to some great belly laughs. My family is good at belly laughing. Then yesterday the women of the family went shopping. Ironic, because we aren’t a shopping family, but it was something to do, a mission we could conquer and something completely frivolous to enjoy after some stressful weeks.
I found the perfect area rug for my bedroom. And then suddenly I knew I had to paint my bedroom. And having a mission was a bit comforting–next thing I knew we were at the hardware store buying supplies, and then painting until almost midnight, sharing more belly laughs and reminiscing about fun family times of the past. So less than a day after we went shopping, my room looks completely different, and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. And control. And that is strangely comforting.
More fun family things are planned for tonight. It’s amazing how a very full schedule can suddenly and immediately clear itself with one brush stroke, replacing obligations with simply resting and bonding. Loss is never easy, but it’s a wonderful reminder to enjoy the people around me. And it’s a reminder that because of my faith, I can have hope.