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raining inside and out

these have been painful days.

i have been prone to tiny weeping fits, as brief and impetuous and fitful as the rain that has been messing up commutes and plans and funerals all week long.

a few days ago, my mother told me that her sisters wanted me to write up a little thing to be read at the funeral. she said her siblings would send me their remembrances of their mother and they wanted me to somehow put them all together. then she added that it could be read by someone else, so i murmured something about how maybe one of the other cousins could read it because public speaking isn't my thing. she didn't comment.

on monday, my aunt told me that they wanted me to speak at the funeral and that they would write up something for me. okay. i can live with changes of plans. my aunt, mother and cousin sat in my living room and worked on the document. at the end of the evening, they emailed it to me to review later.

on tuesday, i looked at it and sighed. what i was expecting was a statement or something along those lines. what i got was a page of bullet points. so in between phone calls and emails and work, i wrote something that felt like a high school feature. tuesday night i polished it up a little and turned it into maybe a junior college feature.

the next day i stood, shaking, at a podium in a chapel, and turned it into a eulogy.

my aunts told me it was beautiful. i asked my mother if it was too long -- she said it was "just right." (that was all the praise i got from her.) not sure what my uncles thought.

after the memorial service, we stood at the grave. prayers were said, and then we watched as my grandmother was buried. it took a long time, even with a backhoe. it started to rain -- a light sprinkle, off and on. at one point cam took nola to the car (paul was at school). i was glad because shortly afterwards it started to pour. my heels sank into the mud. we were under a little canopy, and occasionally the wind would blow hard enough to shake the collected water off the top and down in front of us. there was hail, but i didn't see it. we stayed until the very end. my mother's friend and former neighbor kept a running commentary and tried to keep me from getting too wet.

i'm not sure if i've ever seen a total burial. i may have seen my grandfather's, but i was ten. i know i didn't get to stay that long for my brother or father.

thursday i was back at work. i hadn't told any of my direct reports where i was, so i'm sure they all assumed my absence was kid-related. there were lots of things that irritated me, so i know i was a little snappish. i told a friend that it was really rough -- "i stood in the freezing, pouring rain watching a man in a backhoe dump tons of dirt on a little box holding my tiny grandmother, and you're bitching because someone sent you an email you didn't like?" i ran out of kleenex.

friday was more of the same, but also a little less. i felt a little less on edge (but in some ways i felt more on edge because cam was not so nice in the morning), so i wasn't nearly as bitchy-feeling.

i have a lot of guilt for not being a good daughter or granddaughter. i'm not sure i can ever make it up to my mother, and i obviously can't make it up to any of my grandparents or my father. these past two weeks have been like the ripping open of wounds you didn't even realize weren't completely healed. i'm seeing these relatives i don't often see and wanting them closer yet wanting them gone at the same time. i'm reminded of how i felt so distant and separate in my youth because of the age gap between my cousins and myself. i was never like them, and they were never like me. i'm reminded of how my aunts used to adore me until they had children of their own. i'm reminded of the lack of FIT... like being the lone brunette in a family of redheads. who cheated?

(but i suppose it works out. there was drama that i did not know about. upon hearing it, cam asked if i was really a part of that family. it's nice to know my husband doesn't consider me petty.)

i am hoping that things will calm down a little now. i could use some time to recover.



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