30 April 2013

The Thoughts That Keep Me Up

My great grandmother's services were today (or yesterday, as it is when I post this). I'm thinking that it hasn't really hit me yet, likely because I haven't let myself dwell on the reality of it too much. I can't imagine her being gone, as my mom mentioned in her short speech to everyone today (which, naturally, had me bawling), so most of me worries (or maybe not so much worries, maybe just is a bit more than a bit concerned) about how things will change.

I know that the family has lost its great leader. As when my great great grandma died, her role as the head of the family fell to my great grandma. Now I'm not certain if my great grandma's role falls to someone else and if so, who that would be. I can't imagine that anyone could match her skills in the kitchen, in faith or in family matters. Aside from this new empty "leader" role, how often will family now visit? I know a lot of her children who lived all around the country visited her frequently, but will they still come back to visit in the same place, especially if their core is missing? Will I only see my (relatively) immediate family from now on (by whom I mean all of my grandma's kids and their families, which may be a lot to other people, but is not even a quarter of the rest of the family who was here the last several days)? How will life change for others who were much closer in their relationship with my great grandma? Will they lose a spark or become stronger or be depressed or become more God-centered?

What is it going to be like when I visit again? Just today I called my dog by the name of another dog we had that died two Falls ago. I know a dog isn't as big a deal as a person, but that's the point: if I can be gone and slip up like that, will I walk into that house and expect to see her sitting in her chair for several months after? Will I wonder if I can talk to her about something or ask a question only to remember she can't answer? She had all the answers: what was the right baking conversion, how to right a crocheting project, how to react in a certain situation. She could sew without a pattern, throw together a recipe from memory and experience and was stubborn with how much she wanted to be in charge of the care of her house. When you have a walking, talking encyclopedia, what do you do the day it's gone?

And then I have the slightly guilty thoughts: Did she know how much I appreciated her? Did she know I loved her? How much did I ever say that? Does she only remember my eye-rolls when I was a kid? Does she not know the blanket she made for me when I was a baby is still my favorite? What did I miss by not asking her questions about her life? How much of her love did I not accurately catalog in my mind? I can hardly be the most important person in her life, so am I thinking too much about this?

I'm not heartbroken, but I'm also not heartless. How do you deal with an unexpected, but long time coming, but nothing you can do about it death? How do you make something so unreal feel real (do I want it to feel real?)?

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