Miracle of Normality

Visiting Grandma

So today you are getting a bonus post out of me.  Sometimes I post out of a sense of duty, other times I post because I need to get something out of my head.  This is going to be one of the later, and as a result it is going to be deeply personal.  Gratz… you guys get to go inside my head for a bit.  If you only care about the gaming side of my blog then today’s post is likely not for you.  Yesterday afternoon we made the trip up to my hometown, because after not going for a few days… we felt like we needed to.  My mother has not been dealing with this terribly well, and honestly I feel like I haven’t even really started dealing myself.

The big event that has transpired since last up there, was that Grandma was ready for viewing at the local funeral home.  I am not a big fan of funerals, and not a huge fan of viewing the body.  People talk about how the body “looks just like them”, or how good of a job the funeral home did.  I have to say objectively… that the funeral home did do a good job.  They made my grandmother look pretty, but the problem is…  my grandmother is not laying there in that casket.  What remained laying there was a carefully decorated husk left behind when the person they were, died.

I am not a deeply religious person, in fact after my catholic upbringing I have pretty much avoided allegiance to any religious doctrine.  I tend to believe the things that I can directly observe, but I do believe in the soul.  I think we just lack the technology yet to observe the fundamental spark that makes each of us a unique person.  I have been there as someone died, and watched the light leave their body.  Moments before they were the person I knew and loved, and then almost like a balloon deflating whatever magical stuff made them the person… was just gone.  So that is why I say that no matter how pretty they attempt to make the husk… it never “looks just like them”.  When I die I want to be cremated… I want to dispel all illusions that what remains when I am gone, is anything but my remnants.

Miracle of Normality

Once we finished viewing the body, we went out to my grandmothers house to see my mother.  My mother and uncle have more or less been holding vigil at grandmas house trying to contact the family and figure out what all they needed to do before the funeral this coming Tuesday.  The more time I spend there around her siblings and my cousins… the more amazed I am that I made it out of the environment relatively unscathed.  That is not to say I don’t have my own deep furrows and scars… but I fared far better than most.  My mom and dad for whatever failings they had somehow managed to provide me a relatively normal upbringing, my cousins did not end up so lucky.

It seems like the only real way to be okay, is to escape the gravity of this small town.  My cousin didn’t make it out, and now he is a drug infused mess.  He managed to marry a woman who was even more messed up than himself, and together they brought into this world a lovely and intelligent little girl.  The problem is… the longer she is caught in the gravity well of the two of them… the worse off she will be.  He claims that he is no longer using, but the signs betray him.  He is severely fried, doing all the telltale signs that my friends did in high school when they were “flying high”.  So either he is using, or his wife is using enough to give him a permanent contact high.

He has pretty much burned all of his bridges with local employers, who give the assessment that “he is a hard worker, when he shows up for work and is sober”.  Essentially what he needs to do is take his daughter and go somewhere far far away from the influence of his “friends”.  Because he is basically destroying her life as well.  Right now he is making money by scavenging for metals to sell for what will ultimately end up as drug money.  He was talking about how good his daughter had gotten as spotting copper.  How she ends up dragging home extension cords, and various other things that have copper in them.  I fully expect that this is going to end up in tragedy.

At this point… I am wondering what exactly I can do.  He at least cares for her and tries really hard to be a good father.  If I turn them into DHS, she is old enough and far enough gone that she will bounce from foster home to foster home and likely end up more messed up than she already is.  Her best hope right now is for him to essentially give her to his sister to raise.  His sister escaped the gravity well and moved far far away.  So much so that when my mom called to tell her about grandma, she didn’t answer the phone and had to call back after listening to the message.  She said that she no longer answered phone calls from our area code, because she refused to let her family be torn apart by her brother.

Still Dealing

So anytime I try and break down over missing my grandmother, I just find that I can’t.  I live such a charmed life in comparison to the rest of my family.  I feel like in some way I don’t deserve to break down.  I realize at some point I will have to “deal” and it won’t exactly be pretty.  Thankfully I have a very supportive wife, and a vast support structure of friends that will be there to catch me when I fall.  In the meantime I am going to keep soldiering forward towards Tuesday, and the funeral.  There were so many times I had to bite my tongue yesterday, and I was very proud of my wife in that she was able to as well.  There was a constant flurry of texting between the two of us, but through that we were able to keep “stable”.

Grandma would not want there to be fighting, and there is a very tentative peace currently between the siblings… and they don’t need me straining it.  Right now everything of grandmas entered a trust, where the four brothers and sisters… and my cousin who represents the fifth now have to work together to make decisions.  This is not going to end cleanly, and I imagine shortly after the funeral a war will erupt between the siblings.  I can already see people cracking up, and my mother is not exactly helping this by being extremely overbearing.  I realize they are all hurting, they are just dealing with that hurt in some bad ways.  In the midst of all of this… my internal conflict and suffering really doesn’t matter much.  So I will do my damnedest to keep a stoic face until everything is finished.

6 thoughts on “Miracle of Normality

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about this. I think nobody can truly say they know how you feel, but that feeling that there’s too much going on to handle, I do know that one. I’m feeling a bit helpless as I all I can say is: hold on, you will get through this. It’s good to hear your SO is there for you. All the best the coming time.
    Ravanel Griffon recently posted..SWTOR: What’s this stronghold stuff?My Profile

  2. I also have… issues… with my family. My significant other and I aren’t legally married, although we’ve been together for 20 years. (We met playing D&D at university; she was an elven thief, I was a dwarven berzerker… not exactly love at first sight! 😉 My father was super-conservative religious and didn’t approve of our relationship, and my brother also disapproved. Then a few years ago my brother got married, had a kid, then got divorced in less than 2 years. Stuff like that sometimes hinders that familial feeling you’re supposed to have.

    Likewise, death has always affected me differently than those around me. My feelings were always more complicated than “breaking down crying because I miss them so much” that other people seem to have. I also don’t feel the display of the corpse does much for me, although I can understand why it is important to other people who want to say their goodbyes and work through their feelings.

    The long and short of it is: you’re not weird. Well, not any weirder than at least one other person out there. Then again, I can hardly hold myself up as a shining example of normalcy. But, at least I understand what you’re going through inside your head, because I’ve been there, too.

    But, have strength! I’m sure that others are relying on you at this difficult time. Maybe some good will come out of this sad event.
    Brian ‘Psychochild’ Green recently posted..Articles on how crowdfunding has affected game developmentMy Profile

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