Thursday, June 01, 2006

Condolences to The Anchoress and Her Family

I complain about my life. I complain that DS#1 doesn't seem to appreciate what a great gig he has living at home. I complain that DD#1 doesn't seem to have any ambition or passion in her life. I complain that DS#2 does incredibly stupid stunts that get him into major trouble without even trying. I complain that DD#2 is lazy and seems to prefer to take the easy way through life.

And I complain about Hubs because very often he just doesn't seem to see the world the way I do.

Then I read The Anchoress and find out that her brother-in-law, the man who has been a part of her life for a long, long time, has been diagnosed with cancer, is failing rapidly, and--finally--is now gone, leaving behind a widow. They had been planning a cruise together. Now she is planning his funeral.

I don't know whether it's better to know for a long time that someone you love is dying or if being surprised by how quickly they go is preferable. If they linger, you have lots of time to say good-bye, to get your mind around the idea of them leaving. But then you have to watch them suffer. Going quickly gives the family no time to tie up loose ends (and there are always loose ends), mend fences, say all the good-byes that need to be said. But you don't have to watch them linger.

Funerals and graves are for the living. When my father passed away (5 years ago--already! I meant to write about it, but I didn't), we knew he wanted to be cremated. We sat around the dining room table that my parents received as a wedding present and joked about where we would scatter his ashes--where would Dad most like to be? Surprisingly, my youngest sister felt very strongly that Dad should have a gravesite with a headstone. She needed a place to come visit Dad, a place to connect to him, to take her children and her (eventual) grandchildren to and share her stories about him.

Somehow that need morphed into my mother buying a family plot. I joke with my children that they now know where they are going to be buried. (And it's not too far from where my great-grandparents are buried, oddly enough.)

The Anchoress's sister is only 10 years older than me. And that's kind of scary because I know how fast those 10 years will fly. The DD#2 and DS#2 may not even be out of the house--or not long fledged.

I think I'll go home and hug my family tonight...