Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Reclusive Mourner

Everyone mourns in their own style, and the way I like to do it is to turn off the phone, throw a blanket over my head, and go to sleep. I find death exhausting.

Services for my grandfather were held yesterday. I'd never been to a Catholic funeral before, but Catholic is what my grandpa was, so it only makes sense his funeral would be as such. During the rosary, I closed my eyes for about 10 minutes. I may have fallen asleep.

...pray for us sinners...

All that chanting is calming and so I listened to it and zoned out. An elderly woman behind me was speaking slower than everyone else and ending her sentences like they were questions. Her "Hail Marys" ended with: '... now and at the hour of our death? Amen?'

Yes, old lady. Amen. Question answered.

I closed my eyes because I had an unholy urge to do one of two things. 1) Laugh hysterically. 2) Scream and run.

Screaming and running is nothing new for me. I often have the urge to do that at the grocery store and frequently wanted to do that in math classes.

The urge to laugh hysterically caught me off guard, because I did not find the situation funny. At all. But I'd start giggling and became afraid I wouldn't be able to stop. If I hadn't closed my eyes, I'd probably still be laughing. Or screaming. I'd be at the funny farm, maybe.

There was an altar boy with Down's Syndrome. He was picking his nose during the mass. That did not help my laughter problem.

Have you ever been to a military funeral? I hadn't. This was not a military funeral, per se, but the Veterans Administration will give vets a proper sendoff when the time comes, if beckoned. They were beckoned. They did the whole nine yards, shot the guns, played Taps, folded up the flag and handed it to my grandmother. Ho boy, that is a killer.

My grandpa was wounded in World War II, shot in the arm somewhere in Europe. He has a Purple Heart somewhere. Can we find it? No. It's there somewhere, they say.

This is a picture of a picture, taken with an iPhone, no less, so not the highest quality. This is my grandfather at what I estimate to be the same age I am currently - 31. He would probably be really pissed off if he knew I put his picture on the Internet.

Grandpa, I will miss you. Please say hi to everyone. And also, I hope they have martinis and blackjack (and football) in heaven.




  1. Hey Erin,
    I'm sorry to hear about your grandpa. He may hate having his photo on the net but I'm sure he would have loved your observations on his service. I'll have a drink in his memory tomorrow! Jacq

  2. I can relate to wanting to laugh-I know for me it's nervous laughter. It was so bad that I learned to bite my lip to stop the laughter. Your grandpa's handsome. I'm sorry you're going through this. Death sucks. A big hug to you.