Monday, July 8, 2013

No. We Do Not Really Understand

My face is rashy and itchy. I think that perhaps this regimen I'm on to treat my precancerous skin spots does not take well to being applied and then exposed to sun. And frankly, I'm not sure how to get around that, being outside as much as I am but here I am, rashy and itchy and about to get dressed for a funeral, a burial, a gathering.

We went last night to the viewing at the funeral home and although that is not something I would choose for myself, I think it is important to some people. I saw Paw Paw when he was alive a day before he died and I am glad of that but I have to say that he looked ethereally beautiful in his casket. He was such a handsome man and the planes of his face were sharp and defined and he wore one of his beautiful guayaberas and there were pictures of him from his entire life being flashed on the wall behind him and we all sat and laughed and cried to see him holding his babies and then his grandbabies, then his great-grandbabies. To see him and Maw Maw together, beautiful, young, so full of life that it spilled over into more life and to remember all of that. It was something. There was lots of family there, and friends as well. Sometimes that line gets blurred and in this case, that is definitely true which says a great deal about the sort of people Paw Paw and Maw Maw have always been.

I am going to get ready now for the funeral, go pick up May and Lily. Mr. Moon will meet me there and he will have to leave town before the burial, the gathering, so I will be with my babies and Hank will be there too.
Such heaviness at death. There is nothing as heavy as death, I think, all possibility of light having been taken from a being. This is why we tell ourselves that heaven is full of light and perhaps it is, I surely do not know and no one else does either but I what I do know is that we must hold each other closely at such times and bear each other up.

And so we will. Paw Paw will be laid to rest but the beautiful planes of his face live on in his children, his grandchildren and their children too. In this way, there is certainly life after death, his spirit does live on as well as his genes, no doubt about that at all, and some got his genes and some got his spirit and some got both.

I take comfort in that.


  1. I hope the togetherness that this day brings will provide a soft and comfy place for grief to rest its feet.

  2. A certain life after death? Our spirits living on? Glad you find some comfort in that knowledge. I am still doubtful... Wondering what and if any legacy will be after I am gone...

  3. A beautiful and comforting post. You are right about the heaviness of death, and I like to imagine all the love that remains balancing the equation a little. Thanks for sharing Paw Paw with us.

  4. You've been writing about this so beautifully and movingly. I liked what Syd said about Southern respect.

  5. How you've written about death is moving to me. The heaviness is that -- so heavy -- but borne by love.

  6. You know, there must be something wrong with me because I don't see death as a sad, heavy thing. It is just a passing from one life to another. Of course, I've never been faced with the death of one of my children or grandchildren or my spouse. I suppose I might feel differently if it was one of them.

  7. The great circle of life, as Maude (Harold and Maude) would say.

    XX B

  8. Just last night as i lay in bed with my husband I whispered, "Do you think there is a heaven?". He sat quietly than whispered back, "I don't know anymore." I whispered back, "Neither do I."

    And we went to sleep.

  9. As an older person passes on, a new baby is born. The continual renewal of life is beautiful really. If only death were not so fraught with fear of the unknown, unresolved issues with the deceased, spats over wills and the like, it would all be okay and we (me) could ride the waves of life more easily. But it can never be that easy with my mind that makes things ever so complicated. I think you've got this whole death/birth thing down in your mind and soul more than most. Sweet Jo

  10. Nothing to add. Just wishing you all a tender mercy kind of day.

  11. I'm glad that he is getting a good send off. I am with you on the open casket thing. I don't want any casket--just to be returned to carbon dust. When I think about the ritual of dying and the dead, I realize that it does seem like a black hole but it's because we sanitize it so much compared to our ancestors. I am way too young to remember the cooling table, but there is one here at the house that belonged to my great grandparents. Now most people don't want to even see the dead at all. I fear the loss of a person in my small life more than death. I want to hold those I love so close.

    Thanks for your words of kindess to me. I appreciate them more than you know.

  12. Despite the heaviness of death, I think you did a great job capturing the radiance of the man and the good, positive things that helped make him who he was.

    Thanks also for the link to that Weeki Wachee article. Gotta check that out! I have never been to Weeki Wachee, even though we live right down the road, practically.

    Love the photo of Owen and your Bat Daddy. :)

  13. Quite a day ahead of you. I know you'll have many hands to hold, and that's a very good thing at a time like this.

  14. Nancy- It was as good as it could have been.

    Photocat- Go back and reread- I don't think I said that except within the concept of DNA and the spirit of love.

    Mel- He shared his love and life with us. And his grandson, Billy. I owe him big time.

    A- There are things about the south which are deeply felt and meaningful. Like Syd, I believe that.

    Elizabeth- The expression "dead weight" is based in reality.

    Ellen Abbott- No. You're right. It's not a sadness for those who die. But it is for those who are left behind to miss them so much. That's what I think.

    Beth Coyote- What a beautiful movie. I should watch it again. Did you know that the guy who played Harold played the accountant in The Life Aquatic?

    Birdie- Exactly. Doesn't matter what we think. It is what it is and we have to go on.

    Sweet Jo- No matter how much we know, how much we accept, we still are so saddened when one of our loved ones goes on before us. Especially when it's someone who was so beloved.

    Ms. Fleur- As much as it could have been. Thank you.

    Syd- You're right. We don't want to have to deal with the fluids of birth or of death anymore. And that is a great loss to us in terms of our humanity and understanding of life's meaning.

    Steve Reed- GO TO WEEKI WACHEE! There is real magic there. And oh...what pictures you could take!

    Andrea- I did hold some hands. You are right.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.