I am at the end of a two-day emotional journey of taking the necessary steps to say farewell to a life. It's like I have been sucked into some alternate reality and tomorrow when I wake up, I think I'll start to re-engage with normal life. Kind of.
My heart and soul are bleary and exhausted from the process but I also feel quite centered actually. Oh you know, with all of those cliche thoughts of "now I know what's really important in life" and all of that good stuff. But you know, I'll take it. I'm there.
The near all-day viewing of the body on Tuesday was inspiring. It all went down just as it should have. With tears and laughter and stories and impromptu eulogies and lotsa food (especially good brownies) and meaningful embraces. (I simply despise wimpy hugs and it seems that funerals bring out the best in people's hugging abilities.)
The kids were stellar and so in the moment, I just had to sit back and smile at the scene. CR and The Love Fairy and her cousins and second cousins made plenty of trips to the desert tray and did enough inappropriate running and squealing that I knew my aunt would have been proud.
The Love Fairy had expressed to me before that she probably didn't want to see the body but before I knew it, a conversation between the girlies and their cousins was started and I was lucky to start eavesdropping mid-stream:
CR (my oldest age 6 1/2): She's wearing a wig.
Second Cousin (age 5): No, she's not.
CR: Yes, she is. And she's bald underneath.
Second Cousin: No, she's not bald.
CR: Yes, she is and she's wearing a wig.
Second Cousin: Let's go see.
CR: Yeah, let's go check it out.
CR, Second Cousin, The Love Fairy (age 4) and Cousin (age 3) all run up to the casket, jump up on the kneeler and start analyzing my aunt's hair. Four little girls who are not at all freaked out by the fact that there is a dead body in front of them, but instead are just a little concerned that the hair looks strange. So girl, right?
As the hair analysis went on, both Second Cousin and Cousin touched my aunt A LOT. CR and The Love Fairy chose not to but they did get the general idea of what it might have been like when Second Cousin reported that "she feels hard." The cousins stroked her fingertips, felt her fingernails and caressed her forearms.
After deciding that it sure did look like a wig, CR and the Second Cousin dropped to their knees and decided to pray. The two Catholic school girls did the sign of the cross and then proceeded to do a Hail Mary, then the Our Father and then....one more Hail Mary. And that was just about right.
My soul welled with that scene but I could only stand behind them smiling with tears in my eyes.
That night when I was putting CR to bed, she looked me square in the eyes and straight to my soul and she said, "I'm glad you're alive Mommy."
"I'm glad too," I replied.
"I mean, you're only 41. A lot of numbers have to go by before you die."
I certainly hope so, my sweet CR. I certainly hope so.
'Cause I'm not done yet.
I got a lot of supermom stuff left to do.