Friday, March 17, 2006

Endurance mourning

This is my first death in the family. So I'm observing the cultural practices from the inside for the first time.

The first thing I've learned is that being sad requires food. My grandparents lived, raised their kids, and now have died in this city. And Grandpa and my family were widely known and loved. So everyone who's ever received a kindness wants to take care of us now, which is kind and welcome. And a lot of them bring food.

Food is good. I like food. And having food means you don't have to think about cooking, so you can concentrate on other things.

And not only is it clear that being sad requires food, it's clear that mourning burns a lot of carbs. Cuz that's about all anyone's bringing over. Cakes. Cookies. Brownies. Rolls. Muffins. It's like things have come full circle and now we're all on the faddish all carb diet. We're expected to carbo-load for the funeral. Gotta build up those glycogen stores for crying.

I admit I may have become spoiled by my California lifestyle. I expect food that doesn't trace its lineage to a factory some place. It's always hard on me to come here. I have to work hard to exercise, and the diet is far from what I'd normally eat. But I do love my family, and I'm glad to be with them right now. I know my presence is comforting for my mom and Grandma. I'm kind of the "big strong" grandson. So I can dispense the big, strong hugs which seem to be needed.

I haven't seen grandpa in the casket yet. That's going to kill me. It's not real to me, in some ways. I've shed some tears. I know I'm not done. Sometimes, it feels like we're all together and Grandpa's just taking a nap some place and will be in any minute. We've all made reference, out of habit, to "grandma and grandpa".

I spent a chunk of time today editing my mom's first draft of a eulogy into what's going to be delivered. One of my brothers is going to read it. Some of my work got changed a bit, but I'm pleased with it. The draft I got from mom didn't have a conclusion, and needed some re-ordering of ideas. I re-sequenced, tightened language, parallelized some structures, and wrote and ending. I'll probably post it here.