So this is something that I feel awkward writing about, and I'll probably prove myself to be a complete selfish asshole in about a minute and a half, but I just can't decide whether or not my frustration at the moment is legitimate, or if I'm just a jerk.
I don't really like the act of publicly grieving. I just don't, so whatever. I didn't want to write long posts about my grandmother because no one else would really want to read it and I feel weird about putting all of that out there. Even though I've got a lot on my mind now, I don't really want to share it with people who only read my blog. In last week's post, I just kind of referenced it in a paragraph to let people know it happened. I didn't want to make a major announcement, but I also didn't want to call people up and say, "Hey, my grandmother died. Say something nice to me now." I don't expect everyone I know to start calling me up and trying to console me, because not only will it not really help, but it's just kind of awkward for everyone.
I got a few phone calls on Thursday and Friday from Kristin and Laurie. I was really happy they called. I got a few emails and IMs from other friends who read the post, and I was really happy that they wanted to let me know that they were thinking about me.
I read this poem last night by Julia Kasdorf which included the lines, "I learned to attend viewing even if I didn't know the deceased, to press the moist hands of the living, to look in their eyes and offer sympathy, as though I understood loss even then. I learned that whatever we say means nothing, what anyone will remember is that we came. I learned to believe I had the power to ease awful pains materially like an angel. Like a doctor, I learned to create from another's suffering my own usefulness, and once you know how to do this, you can never refuse." This really hit home for me because I realized that even though it was hard to know what to say to all of these people at the visitation and the service, it was a really kind gesture that they were there. I shook so many hands and hugged so many women who I wasn't related to. There were people who weren't exactly close with our family there, too, but they felt they should come anyway for whatever reason. The point is that it was nice to see people who wanted us to know that they were thinking about it. The gesture is enough.
When my father's dad died when I was in eighth grade, the only friend my age who called me was Carver, a girl from church. I was thinking about how she called me, and how she was the only friend of mine who actually did get in touch with me, which seemed out of the blue at the time because most people just happened to speak to me when they came to talk to the entire family. She called the day after it happened to tell me that if I needed to talk about anything, she would be there, since her grandfather died a few months before and she knew what I was going through. I realize now that it's not random to do such a thing, and I appreciate it more now when I realize that, like back then, the people you aren't the closest to will surprise you. (If you ever Google yourself, Carver Weakley, I hope you find this because I don't know how else to get in touch with you and thank you.)
I guess I'm kind of aggravated that I didn't hear from a few specific people at some point over the weekend, people who I know what I'm doing these days because of this blog, as if our friendships that have spanned four years is cheapened so much that a simple text message is too much effort. (And I realize I'm also horrible at keeping in touch with people, but I don't care at this point because this is about me.) (See? I told you I would prove that I was an asshole.) What I'm trying to say is that I'm not expecting grand gestures of sympathy. I'm not asking for flowers or cards or these elaborate speeches letting me know that everything is going to be alright and blah, blah, blah. But the gesture would be nice.