A Sad Day…

by lilywintergarden

Today was Ernie’s viewing. It’s been a really hard day.  

When I was leaving to drive the kids down, I accidentally pulled into an intersection in town (on a green light) but got stuck there when the traffic ahead of me didn’t move. So there I sat in my Subaru, with the kids three across the backseat in their carseats, while a line of cars honked at me. A woman in a minivan made gestures at me through her windshield indicating that I am an idiot and then gave me a sarcastic thumbs up over and over again. Then a man in a sedan, with his own family, rolled down his window and shouted obscenities at me while giving me the finger. Honestly, the sudden onslaught of hostility was scary and demoralizing. Yes, I held up traffic. People had to wait through another light. But these people were really hateful. And in the end, I felt hateful too. I felt disturbed by it the entire hour-long drive.

At the funeral home, I cried repeatedly. I can’t even say for sure if I was crying for the loss of Ernie, or for the obvious pain his sons and wife were going through, or if I was crying for myself. I honestly don’t know. I’ve had a nasty virus since Tuesday morning and I feel like shit, so I know that’s not helping. 

Later, when I spoke to my mom on the phone, she told me that she and G were coming down the next morning for the actual funeral. I explained again that I wouldn’t be able to go to the funeral myself because no one was available to watch the kids and that I just planned to wait at the in-law’s house until after the service and then join everyone after. She didn’t offer to watch them, despite the fact that she didn’t even know Ernie, so finally I just asked her if she could keep the kids overnight and watch them in the morning while I went to the funeral, since I would really like to not miss it. She agreed, with the stipulation that I get them by a certain time as she and G had dinner/ New Year’s plans.

I could go on, but there’s no point. Today was just a day when I felt disappointed by nearly everyone.

The realization that C’s grandfather is gone forever is beginning to sink in. It may sound cliche, but it’s true: watching someone die and losing them forever makes it crystal clear that life is short…even when you live to be eighty…and shouting the F-word at someone in traffic, or putting your own desires ahead of someone else’s needs, or spending almost an entire day feeling sorry for oneself, is an incredibly unwise way to spend the moments that make up our lives.

I don’t think I’m the only person who has trouble reconciling the gravity of that sentiment with the reality of daily life. Sometimes I feel like I’m walking around with my head bent to the ground and I simply need to look up more often. Why is that so hard?