The after action report
You know what might be harder than a post about the death of a loved one? The next post after that… How can I follow with something frivolous or fun but I can’t keep an endless stream of sad posts either. So, how about an after action report~
Rewinding to the weekend I spent in a blur of getting stuff done for the week away and I realized with some surprise that I was NOT leaving babies, I was not even leaving anyone who can’t toilet and shower alone, so, Lars and the kids would be fine. Who cares if the house was clean or if the valentines were done the way I would have, he is good at making food, they are pretty good at knowing what they need to do, and they had school every day so they were all up for the task. When I let that worry go (after prepping the things I could at least) and had as much time available to answer the slow coming questions about death that would pop out of them. The best few were;
Zoe; “What will happen to Grandy’s pills?” (my original answer “I don’t know”. the final answer; she had nothing with real kick so they went in the trash)
Fiona; after a long discussion about how people needed to die because people kept getting born etc and so I asked what she proposed instead of babies and her firm and final answer was; “Bushes”
Niamh and I talked but oddly enough she has coped with a few deaths already and didn’t have anything new or wild to say. She was in the mode of making sure I was ok and Grandma was ok and after we put her to bed she sent a sweet text to her Grandma that shows that empathy does happen.
Getting to NY was a trick. The plane was super early in the morning so I had to acknowledge the existence of 4am but thanks to a good teacher friend who has to get into the cities early anyway, I got to the airport without too much bother. The TSA line was incredibly long but also very fast, I’m a big fan of the sniffing dogs, didn’t even have to take out my computer. I ran into 2 people I knew online, I guess I’ve lived here long enough to actually stand a chance of knowing people most places. All this was cake compared to getting the airplane to actually take off…. it was running too long and ran out of battery (or something) and we had to wait for a jump start on the taxiway. Then there were other issues and eventually, they got us a new airplane but it took 3 hours. I was flying direct and had a little wiggle room for timing so it worked out better for me than others. I changed into funeral wear at the airport and proceeded to the wake directly.
The wake(s) were what you expect but done very well in my opinion. We were at the place that I hold all other places against for comparison because it is THE funeral home everyone uses locally. I’ve been pretty lucky and I don’t even know what the inside of the MN local funeral home looks like and I would like to keep it that way for a long time.
The following day was the actual funeral and we got a nice spring day. Everything went very well and I made the only error when I had no idea I had a line following the reading until I looked up at 50 faces all mouthing something at me and trying to mentally convey that I missed something. I ended up just saying “what?!” on the altar and quickly said the line but hey, what funeral doesn’t need a little laugh. Why my sister the DECON didn’t do the reading I’ll never know. ANYWAY I know people always say it was a ‘lovely ceremony’ but this time I truly mean it. The priest that said the mass was a close friend of my grandmother and knew her very very well. He didn’t say a generic thing at all and I’m glad my grandmother had such a good friend.
Those two days were non stop planned activity that kept everyone busy so on day 3 I did not have a plan. Since it had been a 4 days since I had cleaned a fridge I decided to go with something helpful and my sister and I cleaned out the fridge and freezer and the majority of the other dry goods. It was also nice to look at all the things in the house and remember them with my sister. We both played with these (sturdy priceless antique) and were never allowed to touch those (fragile more priceless antiques). When this or that was acquired during travel or gift. So much of my ideas of decorating come from the upbringing that you don’t buy things to decorate a room, you collect things of meaning and beauty around the world in the course of your life and you display them.
Since I am here I’ve taken the opportunity to catch up with a few friends. I love dropping in on their lives and being a part of them, even for just a day or two. Next time though we need to have less funeral and more anything else.
It is an odd week though. I have not been without the kids this long nearly ever. Once I had a business trip for 10 days after Niamh but before Zoe but that was so full of work I hardly had time to think. This time I’m in a place where I feel like my kids should be because usually, they are. The time has passed very quickly and I’m glad to be here to help but I’ll also be glad to go back to my regularly scheduled life.
And that is it for now. I hope my return flight is uneventful and I expect to have a lazy day with the kids and husband ignoring any housekeeping chores and just being there.