Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Death and a Funeral

Have i ever mentioned here how much i hate attending funerals? I am not really sure if i have so i will.

I really hate going to viewings, wakes, funerals, graveside services. Really anything having to do with the death of someone.

I believe this stems from the fact that i watched my grandma buried when i was 14 followed by my mother less then 4 months later, a month after my 15th birthday.

I also hate hospitals. to be more specific i hate going to the hospital to visit people who are dying. I spent a week straight sleeping in the waiting room of a hospital watching my mom die. I went home for a bath one time in that week because i was too scared she would die if i left.

The smell, the tubes, the doctors, the nurses, the tape, the machines! It all makes my stomach absolutely turn. Even the knowledge of going to a hospital makes me panic.

For these reasons i avoid as much as possible putting myself in these situations.

Unfortunately, sometimes things happen and we can not avoid facing life.

Back in September my Great Uncle who we called Unc was diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer. By the time they discovered it, the cancer had already spread to his lungs and liver. Needless to say the prognosis was not good. We still had faith. My family is very VERY strong in our faith. We know that sometimes the answer is not what we want to hear but none the less God always answers us.

(I will not go into details about his care because it is a whole other post to itself. I might write about it here later so that it can be a light to others. He was treated in a way that no person should ever be treated.)

Back in early November i went to visit Unc at the hospital. On the way there my husband watched as i started to panic. The closer we got to the hospital, the more i started to breathe deep, close my eyes longer, anything to keep from busting into uncontrollable sobs.

We visited with him that day for about 2 hours. His daughter, and one of my favorite people, walked us out. She hugged us and thanked us for coming. We talked and then departed. At the time no one thought he would make it through the week.

Fast forward to December 2nd, I received the call i had been dreading. Unc passed away peacefully with his family by his side.

Now to explain why i was dreading this i have to admit that i was being a bit selfish. I was not dreading his passing because i wanted him with me. Not that kind of selfish. He is much better off where he is now. Their is no pain or sorrow for him anymore. He is at peace with his family who went before him. I was selfish because i knew with his death came a funeral. And the thought of it made me panic.

The viewing was Saturday night. It went smoothly. I managed to force myself up to the casket to say my goodbyes. He looked great. Better then he did in the hospital. The peace on his face is only something that comes with death and the removal of the stress of this world.

I spent time with family who was in from out of state. We laughed. We looked at pictures. We cried a bit when someone told us a story about how Unc had helped them. He had 4 children, 6 grandchildren, and 4 great grandkids. He was blessed and we were blessed to have him.

Sunday was the grave side service. They opted for this rather then a service. I was thankful. Having to watch the coffin be closed for the last time is one of the hardest things for me.

As we stood around the grave side and listened as his kids and friends all spoke i laughed and sniffled. It was cold, and snowy. My feet were freezing. My heart way heavy. But i was amazed i was doing so well. And then it happened. A friend of Unc's daughters sang Amazing Grace.

I lost it. My legs went weak and my heart broke into. This is a song that they frequently sing at funerals. But for me it is the song they sang at my mom's. It is the song she sang to me as a child to calm me and put me to sleep. It is the song she sang while she cooked or at church on Sunday morning.

In the back of my head i heard her singing and i absolutely lost all the composure i had strained to keep.

This is why i hate this part of life. It is hard for me. I am stunted at 15 emotionally when it comes to death. I don't know how or if it is even possible for me to be able to get over it. All i know is at that moment and any other like this that i have faced, i break down to a heartbroken, devastated teen.

I don't remember anymore where i was going with this post or how i should end it, so i will share a memory.

Unc always had a nickname for everyone. If he called you by your given name it was probably because he didn't know you that well. My Aunt Kay was always Kadeedid, His daughter Kim was always Kimbo, my Brother was always Lil Bean (Unc was Big Bean) and me....I was Pickle Head. This could be because he just liked the name or it could be because for a whole year of my toddler years i would eat nothing but green beans and pickles. Either way it is a great memory for me.

1 comment:

Mom24 said...

I'm so sorry for your loss Courtney, all of them. I think the way you feel about hospitals and funerals is completely understandable and it may not change. You just need to give yourself permission to feel the way you do.