Funerals Are For The Living... And Other Cheery Thoughts

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 | Rhode Island | Mott and Chace | Sotheby's International Realty:

I have experienced death a lot in my life and it is not a huge deal to me. I know that sounds like a weird thing to say but it's true. The exception obviously being very tragic circumstances, but what I mean is death as it happens in life somewhat naturally. I come from big Eastern European families that came to this country and proceeded to have families of 12 or so children. Families of that size tend to make for generations of large extended families and I have been lucky enough to be a part of that. But conversely, when your family is huge, people are always getting old and dying just as other people are getting married and having babies. It's the cycle of life. The first funeral I ever went to was my Grandfather's, I was 7. I remember the dress I wore, a cream sweater dress with pink and green little flowers knit around the collar and cuffs. I remember seeing him in the coffin and not being freaked out, maybe because nobody else was, I don't really know. I remember people crying. I remember my Mom kissing his forehead and leaving a lipstick mark. All I could think was "oh no, that's going to be there forever, that's not good". That still makes me giggle. I remember riding in the limousine and wondering how much longer this was all going to take. Then after all the services we went back to my grandmother's house and it was like a holiday party only not so much for the adults. But it was a family gathering much like any other holiday or party would be. There was tons of food and my cousins and I ran around while the adults talked and visited. We were together and in togetherness there is comfort and solace even if just for those few hours.

To me the hard part of death comes after the funeral. Returning to life and normalcy without that person in it. Doing the things you did every day before but with the thought in the back of your mind that someone is forever missing from your world. That's when the grieving process really starts in my opinion. After the funeral.

I had to go to a funeral Friday for my brother-in-law, my ex-husbands brother. He was 38 last week when he suffered a brain aneurysm without any warning and in less than 24 hours the world lost a beautiful spirit.  I had to take my children to their first funeral because their Father is ill equipped to cope with reality and just split... again.   I have been so angry and disappointed in him... again. However, all I could really do was turn it into an opportunity to teach my kids about family obligation and what it is to be selfless even when you are in pain.

So I helped my Sister-In-Law with whatever I could to plan her brothers funeral. My kids and I made a meal and brought it to my Mother-in-law with some flowers. We looked at all of the old pictures she had pulled out and sat and listened to her talk about her son and how much she will miss him. Because that's just what you do. I took the day off work Friday and we joined the family for the visitation and services. Then we drove another couple of hours to Athens for a celebration of life with all of his closest friends. You see, Curtis was a musician among many other things. He was your basic hippie, deep thinker and artistic soul. There was live music, dancing, food, drinks, a  bonfire and many, many happy stories about this man, his adventures and the countless lives he touched. We laughed and we cried off an on all day but it truly was a pretty amazing experience. He, possibly more than anyone I know, lived the life he truly wanted to live. He did all the things he wanted to do and balls to the wall at that. Something I would like to have a little more of in my life because fuck playing it safe, there are no guarantees. Death sucks but it's part of life. We won't ever see him again, he'll never get married or have kids, no one really even got to say goodbye. Shit, I mean he never even saw it coming most likely. Maybe that's a blessing, I don't know, but the missing him for everyone that loved him is really going to hurt for a very long time.

So....Live every day like it's your last and for God's sake don't waste time on anything that doesn't matter to you. Live your truth and a life less ordinary. RIP Curtis. God speed.


  1. Sorry for the loss. You're right in that you've got to live life and give it your all. My mother passed away almost six months ago. I'm no stranger to death but hers has left a huge hole in my heart.

    1. I am sorry for your loss too Terra. I can only imagine how deeply you feel the pain of losing a parent. Hugs...

  2. so sorry to hear about your loss and good for you for teaching your kids about family, love and being there for those you love, instead of wasting energy on your ahole ex.

  3. oh, i am so sorry for the loss of your brother in law. i am also sorry your ex bailed. i agree about trying to live life afterwards, thinking about them or going to text/call/whatever and realising you can't. life is far too short and unfair.

  4. He sounds like a great soul. I'm sorry for your loss. Peace and love to the family.

    Please tell me your ex just bailed on taking the kids to stuff and not that he bailed on the entire funeral, etc.

  5. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I have to give you mad props for stepping up and being a bigger person and helping your kids through this and being there for the family because I am sure that meant more to them than you will no. I hope that you ex just couldn't handle your kids and not like the whole funeral thing in general. Because wow. Death can be hard but we all gotta be adults.

  6. Oh my friend, I'm so sorry to hear about your BIL. I must say, I am so impressed and inspired by you and how you handled things with your kids and (ex) in-laws. I'm sure they all will forever be grateful that you helped it go so smoothly. Did the ex really just disappear or just not able to handle your kids? I'm sorry he once again let you down . . . luckily ex is in his title though. Happy Friday girl!

  7. First let me say sorry for the loss of someone that absolutely sounds amazing in every way. I am Greek and grew up the same way, the huge non ending family, funerals, weddings, babies, babies, death more babies more death. Lol Even being born and growing up my entire life in the U.S. this was normal to me and my first funeral i can not really recall who but was about the same age however not long after was my papu (greatgrandfather). And it was a family event did not scare me and since then been through way more deaths than any one person should ever go through "friends & family both" doing the most horrific things because the family could not like going through a bag of my very good friends bloody cloths to look for his personals. And did it with a straight face as a young teenage girl. It's always hard always however I was always the one that kept my composer, helped as much as I could, was there to counsel, hold, love, tell people it would be ok and no one ever felt they needed to say it to me because I was the strong one always. As I grew up and into my own self the so called black sheep of my Greek family "a Hippy" :-). I have never needed the help or condolences of anyone I would say I hardened myself to a lot of life and never really let things hit me deeply. Untill........ 4 months ago and a few days my Daddy left this world with a out of no where masive heart attack and I am not sure who I am, what to do, think, say, can't really do anything at all honestly. But I have always been the strong one so no one at all has been here, helped, checked on me, asked am I ok, even though I flipped out and went totally crazy trying to walk down the street with my dad's ashes saying no one will get him on the way to the grave yard. I know it does and never really needed that before and that's what people know about me but I am not ok at all. I am the most lost I have ever been. I send my 2 children to my ex husbands "same thing by the way you explained yours besides I ad POS. to mine" but I send them more than I should but I can't hardly get my thoughts straight much less make a PBJ. I guise what I am saying is yes embrace life live it to the fullest something i need to bring back and do again some how, but more importantly embrace every single day you have with those closest to you because you never ever know when one of the closest people to you might know and you just finally loss your mind with everyone thinking how strong you are and how you work though everything you encounter oddly well. Embrace everything you have, be thankful, be happy, be you the real you, live love laugh Dance in the rain and love every single soul to the fullest because you don't know when your time or thief's may be called back to the earth. Much love, peace, and blessing to you. Jsn