November 23rd, 2005

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Learning

Today we did funeral arrangments. My gosh, are there a lot of them! It took over three hours.

Things I have learned recently:

  • Obituaries cost $16/line.
  • Funeral directors never use words like "body", "dead", or "mortuary".
  • Caskets come in different sizes! They also cost a couple thousand dollars, on average.
  • All the rest of it costs several thousand dollars.
  • Everything is easier if the funeral director is a member of the deceased's church.
  • Grief comes and goes in waves. It seems like the feeling part of my brain is totally separate from the thinking part.
  • Mormons get buried in temple clothing.
  • Not only is crying okay, it helps -- but it also helps to take a break from crying, and that's okay, too.
  • Family members get a lot more funeral than everybody else does.
  • Even funeral directors don't necessarily have their burial arrangements all planned out in advance.
  • You can laugh and mourn at the same time.
  • Sometimes remembering makes me sad, but most of the time it doesn't.
  • I have an awful lot of really wonderful friends.

It's hard to imagine that my father only died yesterday. It feels like it's been much, much longer.
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My mood today has mostly been just really, really tired. Drained. Doing okay, but worn out.

I went through my photos last night and found some old pictures of my dad. Found lots of other pictures, too. Greg and Jerry were all wonderful and patient and put up with me making them sit there with me as I waxed nostalgic. There were a couple rolls from the trip I took to South Africa with Dad and other family members several years ago. And a bunch from the time he took me to Japan in 9th grade. (My Dad travelled a LOT for work, and he would use frequent flier miles to take family members on trips.) I also found lots of pictures from high school, and a bunch of my Mom's side of the family, including a bunch with Harriet (my super-wonderful maternal grandmother, who passed away a few years ago; I miss her lots). It was nice. Remembering is good.

Today was the 'viewing' (or maybe 'visitation'?), which meant getting to see my Dad's body. I was expecting it to be rough, but it wasn't actually that bad. It's hard to describe. The body looked like him (except the color was really off), but it was clearly just his corpse, and not really him, if that makes any sense. I held his hand, and patted his shoulder and stuff, and I think that was important. Said I was going to miss him.

Aside: I feel like it's important to use straightforward words, like 'die' and 'body', instead of euphemisms, when talking about these things. I'm not sure why. I guess it just feels more... honest?

Most of what I did, though, was visiting with relatives. So maybe 'visitation' is the right word. We talked a lot, told lots of family stories. I brought along the pictures and everyone really enjoyed them. People mistook my Mom's baby pictures for me, and pictures of me in high school for pictures of my Dad, so I guess I know that I'm not secretly adopted or anything.

We're all doing okay. It's hit my grandmother really hard, but we're getting by.
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Thanks

I want to say that I really appreciate all the support and kind words that people have offered. It really means a lot to me. I've tried to reply to everyone, but LJ comment notification has been sporadic, so my apologies if I missed anyone. Thank you again.

And y'know, if anyone is getting bored (or uncomfortable) with hearing me process all of this in public, you're totally excused from reading any more entries until I'm done. Sharing stories is an important thing to do when you're grieving, but I don't want anyone who isn't touched by it themselves to feel obligated to listen.

And if I didn't know it before, dang, do I have a lot of people who care! Thank you. I love you all.