I have grieved more friendships than I have loss of life. I’ve actually grieved more of anything than the loss of life. For a thirtysomething, I should feel lucky. The last, and only person close to me who has passed away is my Grandma Vie, and I was thirteen.
My grandma was a career waitress with a bluntness about her. When I’m questioning my own choice of things to blurt out, I like to think she’d be proud of who I became. She served at a restaurant called The Normandy, while I currently work at a local supper club inside the building that was once called The Normandie back in 1948.
When my siblings and I were little, if my dad told us not to stir up our ice cream she would come up behind us and start whipping the spoon so fast around the bowl, until she could hold it upside down and the ice cream would stay put. She’d look at my dad and say, “We aren’t stirring it up, we’re mixing it” – or something along those lines.
She moved to California and we’d chat on the phone here and there, but then she passed away. I grieved her. I remember feeling overcome with sadness at her funeral and wishing that I’d made more of an effort, and asked her more questions. I grieved as much as a selfish thirteen-year-old girl can grieve.
Twenty years later and I’ve skated by with only celebrity deaths catching me by surprise.
The only other funeral I attended other than my grandmas was my mom’s uncle. I did not know him, and I also did not know it was going to be an open casket. When I laid my eyes on him, from afar, I never got any closer, the pit of my stomach dropped and I can still remember how it felt. Am I going to faint? Puke? That’s a dead fucking body… A lifeless, soulless, shell. The awareness of that feeling makes my situation bittersweet.
Two funerals in my entire life. That seems unheard of and kinda bizarre. So many people in my life have lost people they love – sisters, brothers, parents, friends. I offer my condolences, if they want a hug, I’m always good for that but I have not the slightest idea what they’re going through. My adult-self has zero experience in that category, therefore, there is no advice I can offer, plenty of sympathies, but zero empathy.
When is that day going to creep up on me? How am I going to manage my already kinda chaotic emotions? It’s morbid to think about but I’m sure you think about fucked up things too.