Cremated remains are a lot heavier and more dense than I expected. In “feel good” movies where someone has died they are often used for comic relief. You know what I’m talking about: someone is spreading the cremains (god, what a portmanteau) of someone they love and inevitably the wind picks up and the cremains get blown back onto the person. After handling my mother’s cremains I’m calling bullshit on all those scenes. It would take a big fucking wind to throw up cremains that easily or a really fucking stupid person to throw all the ashes at one time.
It’s been one week since we spread some of my mother’s ashes at her parents’ gravesite. Her ashes are going multiple places so we spread just a little bit at the cemetery. It was a brutally cold day. I took my gloves off, put my hand in the box and sprinkled the only physical component of that which was my mother’s body onto the ground.
Afterwards I didn’t know what to do with my hand. What could I do that would be respectful? I couldn’t put my glove back on. I couldn’t wipe my hand on my pants. I just stared at it for a really long time.
My mother’s funeral was really just a visitation at a funeral home and there wasn’t really a ceremony at the cemetery when we were spreading her cremains. I didn’t write a eulogy to read. I should have. My aunt read from Ecclesiastes but I should have said something.
I wasn’t ready to say anything but I regret not writing something, I regret not saying something.
I haven’t cried every day this week. That’s an improvement over the previous week. But when I do cry, when the pain hits, it’s just as sharp.
I’m not good at this mourning thing. I’m following the rituals I’m supposed to but they feel performative. Like I’m just doing them for people to see me doing them. I guess that’s the heart of the expression “fake it until you make it?” I don’t really know. I’m also not good at letting people help me. People ask “how are you” and I think that’s a dumb question. My mother has been dead for less than 3 weeks I’m awful. But when I thought about calling my stepfather I couldn’t think of what I’d say to him other than “how are you?” and now I know I’m a jerk for not just translating it in my head to what people mean: “I’m sorry your mom died, I don’t know how to help but I care about you.”
Thank you to the people who care about me, I’m sorry I’m not better at this.
One thought on “The Second Post About Grieving”
It’s not your job to be better at this. Your only job is to survive it. Love you, my friend.