I just read this amazing post from one of the bloggers I follow about how she lost her father when she was really young, and then asked the readers how they coped with loss. I realized that how I cope with loss is I just forget. I block out the funeral, and the memories that hurt, that way I can talk about the person with a smile on my face. Even now I think about deleteing what I have wrote so far and forgetting about writing about this post, but I won't, I don't think that is how I should handle it anymore.
For all the tears I didn't shed at the funeral, I will let them fall now, that way I don't carry them around and almost sob like a baby when I read something on facebook about him, or see a photo of him.
My Papaw died 8 months ago, on the day after my birthday. Honestly it couldn't been on the birthday, I don't remember, I just remember Mom waiting a few days to tell me so it wouldn't mess up my birthday, which is nice, but sitting here now all I can remember is sitting on the couch after Mom called and told me, and telling Mike. I didn't cry, it didn't even sink in.
And Mike just stared at me and then held me close, but tears still didn't come. I told him that we all expected it because he was so sick, and it was actually a blessing because he didn't hurt anymore. It was different, I said, that's why I'm not crying.
Then I snuck away and laid in our bed for a while, that's when the tears came, really slow. Mike found me and all I could do was apologize, I thought it was silly of me to cry when I knew it was coming. Mike is so much smarter than me, he held me again and told me not to say I was sorry, that it was still going to hurt no matter what. He's a good man.
I look back at that now and see how false that is to say its different because you know death is coming, death is still sad, still painful even if you had years to prepare, because you can't prepare to not have that person in your life, thats not possible.
I didn't go to school, because I knew no matter how strong Mom was she was going to need me, I told myself to be strong for others, to do what made the others hurt, so to save them a little. I went to Mamaw's house and got people coffee, I pulled old photos of Papaw out of picture frames to give to the funeral home, I gathered the clothes Papaw was going to be buried in, I held Mamaw and said nothing, because what in the world could you say. I worked beside Jade, my strong cousin, who did everything I did, and had tears in her eyes almost the entire time, she was amazing. My Mom, Jade, her brother Cole, and I ran through Walmart and Kohls looking for a tan v-neck sweater because Mamaw was in tears that we couldn't find it. I made jokes about being the only people in the world that could look through two huge stores in less than 15mins to try to bring some smiles to the day.
I can't remember if the wake was seperated into two days, or if it was just one. I do know that I went to every one of them though. I remember I kept chanting to myself, Don't Cry, Don't Cry, Don't Cry. And if anyone sees you cry, stop, they don't need to feel bad for you, there are others that need their hugs more than you.
I remember feeling selfish, and only whispering it to Mom and Mike, about how all I wanted for the last few months was that Papaw made it to my wedding, that he got to see me be married, and that he wouldn't be there now, there would be one less chair to gather. I didn't say it to anyone else during the wakes, because I thought it was so selfish to think about that.
I cried a few times during the wakes, but I don't think anyone noticed. I cried at night and still apologized to Mike.
During the wake that was held at the church before the burial, I walked around like a damn zombie. I literally didn't cry while the family greeted everyone, while I excepted hugs, and tearful "I'm sorry for you loss"s. One older couple, after greeting me, talked about me in whispers, thinking I couldn't hear them. The husband asked "what was wrong with me", he actually sounded concerned that my face wasn't covered in tears. The wife whispered back, "Shes in shock, complete shock." They shook their heads for me and walked away.
I thought, shock explains how I feel very well. I also felt ashamed that I couldn't take peoples attention off me even if I wasn't crying, my sorrow was a mask glued to my face.
I lost myself completely, when we sat and heard the preacher say wonderful things about Papaw, and my Mom broke down. I couldn't stop the tears, and I just held Mom while she tried to control herself. Then I saw something that broke me, just broke me. The biggest flower arragement, the one closest to Papaw casket, was made of red roses, yellow daisies, and purple statis. They were my wedding flowers. The exact same ones that I had ordered only a few weeks ago. Papaw knew, he knew he was missing it, knew it was important to me, and that was his way of being there. When I started sobbing, I somehow managed to tell my Mom what was wrong, and we both sobbed big baby sobs, the ones that take your breath away, and make you hiccup, and you try to muffle because you know you are being to loud.
After that cry though, I didn't cry anymore. We lit candles for the ones we missed at our wedding ceremony, and I know Papaw thinks its a great joke, cuz he was always smarter than us, and the flowers that made up my bouquet were red roses, yellow daisies, and purple statis.
I didn't read my families Facebook status' that said anything about Papaw, I avioded pictures of him.
I didn't think about that he died 4 months before my wedding, and 5 months before we found out I was pregnant. He would have loved that. I didn't think about that Mike really liked my Papaw, and Papaw actually liked him and wanted to get to know him, and never got to. Cuz a stupid family fight. I didn't think about how I didn't see as much of him as I should have towards the end for the same reason.
I didn't mourn him.
And that was wrong, I thinking about it now, I throwing up my emotions on this post, so I'm not scared of them anymore.
I'm going to remember Papaw. Remember: that he could hold his breath under water longer than me no matter how many times I tried, the stories he told of France and riding trains to get to other countries, that he taught himself German with a instruction manual and a German dictionary, that he used to type up my school reports for me and telling him he didn't have to erase a whole sentence to get to that one mispelled word, him falling asleep on our recliners with a cookie in his hand, driving the church bus and telling us that if stuck our heads out the window a truck would decapitate us and that it was totally true, telling me I had piano fingers and teaching me songs, listening to his beautiful music while I sat somewhere else in the house, him finding my cat after a day of losing her(he woke up to her sleeping on his chest), his birthday when he met Mike and insisted that he get in that family photo, him sitting in front of Mamaw hugging her and giving her kisses, the long math problems that he made up to test himself, how he would laugh if got the jeopardy question wrong, the day the riding mower caught on fire and he tried to put it out with a watering can. Ha, Mom and I ran across the field to stop him from getting close to that damn thing. Haha, two firetrucks and one emergency pickup truck showed up to put out the little riding mower.
I going to remember that stuff,
and I will never forget the flowers we shared.