Dealing with Death
In an odd turn of events, both of my grandfathers passed away this past week – my father’s dad on Wednesday and my mother’s dad on Saturday. Both deaths were expected, not that that makes it any easier. I’m glad that it wasn’t out of the blue – that would have been harder to process, I think. As it was, we’ve had time to prepare for their deaths, and time to talk to the kids about why you die and what happens when you die.
I’ve removed some of the more personally identifiable info (as I’m sure you can understand).
My Grandaddy had a small, family only service in his childhood home town. All of the family mentioned in his obituary, plus his nieces and nephews and their respective spouses and children, plus some very close friends of the family were in attendance. We all brought food and ate dinner, then my Dad said a few words and we went to go scatter his ashes back in our hunting lease. It was a lovely, if sad, informal affair that I think would have pleased him had he been there. That’s one of the things I remember best about my Grandaddy – sitting around camp chit-chatting (sometimes arguing), and poking the fire with a stick if it was cold enough to have one.
My Pawpaw, on the other hand, had a somewhat more formal memorial service (as he was also cremated). It was nice – there were a lot of people there; some might say that a well attended funeral is a sign of a well-lived life, and few can argue that my Pawpaw was a good man. That side of my family is bigger – more spread out than my Dad’s side. It was nice seeing some of my cousins that I haven’t seen in a long time and welcoming a few new babies, too.
My Granny & aunts and cousins came today to scatter/bury Pawpaw’s ashes – we’re not sure yet. The boys and I went to meet them at my uncle’s grave. My mom’s brother died in a car wreck when my mom (who was with him in the car) was 18, and I think that their first choice in where to spread his ashes is on top of my uncle’s grave. I don’t know if that’s doable or not*, so if not then he’ll be buried on my grandparent’s property.
*It was, but they wanted $2,100.00 to SCATTER his ashes ON TOP OF my uncles grave. That’s unreasonable – nothing like gouging the bereaved…
Both of my grandmothers seem to be doing well. My Grandmama seems to be doing better. She’s a woman who needs a task to do, and cleaning out her house has been quite the undertaking. I would imagine that staying buys keeps her from thinking too much. My Granny, on the other hand, seems more… fragile, maybe. I think that their marriage was more fulfilling (even though both couples have been married for over 50 years), and I can’t imagine how hard it must be to go from having someone constantly in your presence to them being gone.
For Grandaddy: Dr Pepper, Oreos (double stuff’d), swimming pool, Big Branch, “woah, Dobbin'”, “H.L. & Son”, Universal Tractor, camp, cowboy boots, hat and western-cut suede leather coat, shooting in the pasture
For Pawpaw: Wrigley’s spearmint gum, blue Ford, WT belt buckle, long days in service, The Farm,fruit trees and compost, hearing you call Granny “Sugar-baby” all the time