Sunday, March 04, 2018

"Last kind thing"

I once opined that the "last kind thing" you could do for a person (well, really: their family and friends) in the wake of their death was to provide food.

I remember my own grandmother's funeral - the first experience I had with such things (I was a baby when one grandfather died, and my other grandfather and grandmother, their funerals were at a time that travel was hard, so my dad went but the rest of us did not go - also my brother was small and it would have been harder). After the funeral, we were tired, we were thinking about the 14 hour drive home, and I, personally, would not have been up to picking a restaurant or deciding off of a menu.

But there was food in the Fellowship Hall - the women of the church (as happens so very many places, though I think these days some places men join in too) had prepared lunch, and we didn't have to travel or even really think, just sit and eat, and it made things much easier. And it also gave a bit more time to talk with extended family in a more "natural" setting. (The funeral was over, we could kind of go "so that happened" and set our faces toward the future, so there were questions about my college plans and the new baby one cousin had - the kind of "life goes on" normal things that you come to crave at some point when you are dealing with a loss)

I've helped out with funerals here as I could - Dorothy's, and Dr. Bretz', and others. Because it's important to me.

When I was out and about yesterday, I found myself before a shelf of the "Bonne Maman" jams, and I thought, "I wonder if I should get one ahead, in case Charlene asks me to make the jam bars I do for a meal or reception." (Charlene is the head of what we call the Bereavement Committee; they are the people who arrange for lunches and also things like where the flowers go after a funeral and getting food to the family and all of that).

So I bought one. And I was right: there is going to be a lunch before AND a reception after the trip to the cemetery, so I'm being asked to make jam bars and brownies, which is a small enough thing to do. (And I'm going to help serve the lunch. They were told to expect up to 300! Steve knew a lot of people....)

But yes. For me, this is part of the grieving process. I do better with sadness if I can do something, even a silly little thing like baking cookies, that helps out.

(I'm also reminded now: when our cedar paper comes out, I need to get a copy to Charlene and Tom; it is their land they let me cut the branches on.)

Lots of remembering at church today: people are still sad and in shock (it really truly was a sudden death, and the feeling is very different from when Margaret died, after over a year of being ill (and she was somewhere in her late 80s) and even different from when Ronnie died, because he had cancer that had progressed so fast....with Steve, he was fine one afternoon and gone the next morning).

And Mike did as he said he would last week: he came up and hugged me. That made me happy. (Though I wish Steve still was here).

And the other elder at the table mentioned in his prayer something along the lines of "Keep Ronnie and Steve busy up there" and a lot of us kind of chuckled: Steve and Ronnie had been friends, and yes, I could totally see them getting up to some kind of trouble if they weren't busy...

One thing I will say I have learned from this - because I think there is no emotional pain in this life that maybe doesn't teach something - is not to complain that I'm insignificant, and I don't matter, and that people don't notice me. EVERYONE matters. Everyone leaves a hole when they're gone and I've recognized, especially at church, this past week, that I DO matter to people. And that's worth something. (Not worth losing a friend, but still)

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