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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Strangeness 
2nd-Nov-2012 11:38 am
Hearth
I have been tweeting bits from this trip, but not really blogging; we've mostly had a constant crowd of people over, so I haven't had the time to collate my thoughts.

There was a funeral, full of people I haven't seen since I was about seven, most of whom I did get reintroduced to, some of whom I had to fake it with. As is often the case with such things. My aunt and uncle both spoke at the funeral. My uncle's speech was brief and heartfelt. My aunt... not so much. But okay.

They lowered Grandma's coffin, and we did the first-shovelfuls-of-dirt thing; Mom and my uncle, Dad and my aunt, then me (I'm the oldest grandchild). As I went back toward my seat, Mom grabbed my hand and kept me up next to her.

And just did not let go. Terrified grip on my hand the entire rest of the time.

At a Jewish funeral, people form two lines for the principal mourners to walk through to begin their grieving process. This is supposed to just be my mom and uncle. But Mom had my hand held fast, so I walked through with her - not side-by-side, even, but tugged along in her wake. The lines broke into clumps afterward, and she began the process of hugging people... on-armed, because she still had my hand clenched tight in hers. She would hug people, then I would, and I don't know if she even noticed that she was dragging me behind her at this point. I exchanged helpless glances with my sister. And, well, if that's what Mom needs, that's what Mom needed. She needed to hold onto me.

I have never been the comfort person for my mother. If you asked me if that might ever happen, I'd've laughed. But I am, for this.

The cousins have all gone home at this point. We're going to Grandma's apartment today, my parents and aunt and uncle and I, to clean out the fridge and start packing up personal effects. That will be pretty intense and awful.

I am thankful for felis_demens, enderfem, and maxymyllyn for being here when they've been able, for distracting me and getting me out of the house and bringing me to safe food and, well, All the Things.

And in the middle of all of this, there have been some hilarious freakin' moments. Like yesterday. Felis and I were talking in the corner of the living room, and I heard my mother say "MILF? What's that?"

Well. Instantly, they had our attention.

So I got to watch my uncle explain what MILF stands for to my mother, my aunt, and my mother's friend. They took a while to get it, just because my uncle was unwilling to say "fuck". "Mother I'd like to..."

"Like to what?"

"You know."

"What?" They were genuinely perplexed.

"Mother I'd like to..." and he mouthed the word "fuck", being unwilling to say it aloud.

"WHAAAAT?!? Why do people say that? Is that a thing? WHAAAAT?"

And my mom's friend took longer to understand, and had to clarify. "Mother I'd like to..." and she put her hand in front of her face to keep the young people from noticing that she was whispering "fuck".

"Yes!"

"Ohhhhhh! Ewwwwww!"

Reader, I literally laughed myself to tears.

The older folks turned on me, Felis, and my brother-in-law Steve who'd been resolutely ignoring them. "DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS?!?"

Me and Felis: "Yep."

Steve: "Yeah, but I wasn't gonna tell you."

So that happened.
Comments 
2nd-Nov-2012 04:11 pm (UTC)
Oy. Family stuff like this is so hard... only word I can come up with for it and it's so inadequate.

Your MILF story just joggled my memory, though. My maternal grandmother (I realize now was heading down Alzheimers' lane) was a crass, manipulative, bitter and angry, horrid old lady.

I was pre-teen aged during a family visit to Michigan; my cousins and I were sitting around chatting and the adults were still around the table when she popped out loudly with, "Doctor (my step-grandfather) was THIS LONG (gesturing with both hands about 12 inches apart) but he could never get it up." EMBARRASSING!

So what can the teenagers do but giggle about it? But made immediately oh-so-much worse by my grandmother pinning me with her fish-eye and blurting out, "And how do YOU know what I mean, Missy?"
2nd-Nov-2012 04:18 pm (UTC) - :-)
The MILF thing is a story you're going to tell for decades. Funny things can happen at funerals.

When you get back, if you need a funny one, remind me to tell you about the local fire chief's beeper going off incessantly after my mother's funeral, and no, there wasn't a speck of fire.
2nd-Nov-2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
It sounds like the funeral went as well as can be expected, considering the fact that it's a funeral and all. It's good to hear that you were a comfort to your mother, even if you were rather surprised by it - grief tends to bring out a side of people you don't always see.

And the MILF story is priceless!
2nd-Nov-2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
That's all hard stuff. I helped my aunts and uncle and my parents go through Grandma's stuff a few years ago. Created a massive pile of things to send to goodwill. Put those things in the big compostables brown paper bags to distinguish them from the trash. It's also neater. We found a weird cache of new stuff in her attic, tags still on. Presumably gifts she never gave.

Some of it triggered interesting stories, but mostly it was just a slog. I hope all of you take breaks when needed.

And go through everything.

When my great-aunt died, the year before grandma, I found my great-great-grandfather's license to practice law in the state of Michigan. Fancy document, wax seal and all. Folded and stuck into an otherwise nondescript little cookbook, which in turn was tucked in the narrow-but-long drawer at the bottom of a very old bookcase in the office. That drawers was otherwise full of playing cards and childrens toys.

We gave it to mymom's cousin, third generation lawyer on that ide of the family. Bit of an heirloom document. That sort of thing can show up just about anywhere.
3rd-Nov-2012 06:46 am (UTC)
Isn't it wonderful, sometimes, how a moment of laughter can give us respite from the terrible goings-on around us?
3rd-Nov-2012 08:20 am (UTC)
*much hugs*
4th-Nov-2012 03:21 am (UTC)
So I have to ask, because it's not at all clear from the context--did someone have the cognizance to explain to your mother and her friends that the "Mom" in MILF refers to *someone else's* mom? I mean, it's still scandalous, but not in quite the same way...


BTW, my father sometimes tells a similar story about being a little kid at Thanksgiving dinner while everyone was talking at once to someone on the opposite corner of the table, until they all suddenly shut up when he said, "What's a hysterectomy?"

4th-Nov-2012 05:44 am (UTC)
Oh, the brave, brave older generation... trying to protect the innocent ears of the younger generation one score years too late!
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