My sisters and I were told more than once tonight that we were having too much fun in the funeral home. It was really like a big party. There were few tears, mostly lots of talking and laughing and remembering. And doing things that would have gotten us in trouble 20 years ago.
The differences in my grandmother's and grandfather's deaths are amazing. Grandmother went in to have major surgery, which had the possibility of death, but she would've died without the surgery... She made it past the dangerous part, then died a few days later from infection. We knew the risk, but also knew how strong-willed she was, so her death was a big shock. I wasn't able to be there for much of the time, because I had a horrible job that wouldn't let me leave, even when my family called and told me she was dying. They didn't turn off the machines before everyone arrived, but my grandmother was gone before I got there. My grandfather spent the last 2 years missing the love of his life. He fell a few times, and had some fractures along his spine, but there was really not much physically "wrong" with him. I think he died of a broken, lonely heart. We knew this day was coming, and were much more prepared. I have a different job, and didn't even have to ask to be off for the funeral. With my Grandmother, I knew I couldn't find anyone to take my shift on short notice, so the day of her funeral, I went in to work for several hours, and the boss didn't bother to send me home.
I couldn't be there with Grandmother, and I wasn't there when Granddaddy died, but I was able to spend a lot of time with him in the days before. The last night of his life, I was there, and I was the one who held his hand through the night, so the others could get some sleep. It makes the circumstances of Grandmother's death a lot easier to deal with.
I was also the entertainer of everyone's kids. My mom and her brother are the oldest siblings, and all of their kids are grown, and half have their own babies. The other 3 sisters are a good bit younger, and have kids from 5 months-12 years. Sunday afternoon, I took 5 kids (4 10-12 year-olds, and a 4-year-old) to play putt putt and eat lunch. Whew. Hubby went with me. We decided that older child adoption is NOT what we will be doing first!!! ;) Another night (I think Monday or Tuesday, but they all run together) I took 5 kids ages 10-13 to the local park for an hour and a half. They needed to get out of the house for a while (everyone was basically living @ Grandaddy's house), to run around and be loud and play. They thought he was going to go that night, but it was the next day. We were all there (his 5 kids, all but 1 of the grandkids, and 1 great-grandchild, his cousin, his brother, and several others) that night, telling him it was okay to go home, and figuring out that he kept looking in the corner of the room, because he saw Grandmother. It was a sweet, sweet night. He had moments where he was very aware of who was in the room, what was going on, and he told us he loved us and answered questions when we were each talking to him.
The funeral is tomorrow, so that will be one more day of total family togetherness. And while I've enjoyed seeing everyone, Aunt NotTheMama needs a break!!! I'm good at taking care of everyone else, that's just what I do. Hold Granddaddy's hand, take the kids off everyone else's hands, feed the baby, play with the baby, answer a 4-year-olds questions about Heaven, that's just how I deal with death and sadness and loss. I'm much, much worse at taking care of myself. Saturday I'm planning to stay home, clean house (ugh, it's terrible!), and rest... Probably read a book, sleep in.... It's time for some "me" time!!!
As per usual, though, there has to be some family drama... Usually it's my mom and the oldest younger sister. They've actually done really well, but argh..... My Uncle is about to marry for the 3rd time, and there is more drama surrounding this than a junior high girls' sleepover. (Did I mention BOTH of his ex-wives came to the funeral home tonight?) Anyway. They're not married yet, but he's been living with her for a while. I'm pretty sure they were together before his divorce was finalized. Well, she had a m/c sometime recently. (He's in his 50's, she's 40-something) In the process of her procedures for that, it was discovered she has an std, which she gave to my uncle, who had to have some kind of procedure or treatment or something for that, yesterday. They couldn't go to the funeral home before lunch yesterday to plan everything, because they both had appointments yesterday. Even though they're not married, she was included in the obituary, because he doesn't have anyone else.... Well, it's his own choice!!!! And don't even get me started on how I feel about my uncle acting like a hormone-driven teenager and ending up in this whole predicament in the first place.... Or how my Grandfather was one of the most conservative men I know, and how disappointed he would've been if he even knew about all of this. And about how many times I was asked if my nephew was my son, because apparently the whole town thought I was expecting. I had heard this rumor a couple of months ago... My standard answer is no, I'm just the Fun Aunt, and I am spoiling everyone else's kids and sending them home when I want some quiet time. Honestly, after holding my 5-month-old, almost-10-lbs cousin and spoiling her rotten the past few days, NOTHING could be further from the truth.