I was nervous about going to the visitation for my friend last week. Nervous about what I would see, about falling apart, nervous about not knowing the right words and actions. I have been to friend's parents' funerals, I have been to funerals of people that were connected to others. In my almost 36 years of life I have never been to a funeral for someone that was connected to me.
Which makes me fortunate, oh, so fortunate, I know. Which is why last week left me so very emotionally drained and broken and why I waited until just before the service before I committed myself to going.
That's not to say that I have not encountered death before.
In my family, we burn'em up, throw'em in a cardboard box, and stick'em in the closet. It's become kind of a tradition now. There are no public displays of grief, there are no "death soundtracks" playing softly in the background while you stand around shaking the hands of people that you don't know. There are no death lilies or cards of sympathy (because, really? Who would keep that?).
It also means that there is nowhere to visit, no special place marked for your person for prosperity. No place that you can go and see their name engraved into stone and know that they are yours.
On Monday, I decided that 4 and half years is long enough to hold on. I took my daddy's ashes out of the closet and, with the Scare Bear and the Hubs, drove down to the beach to let my father find his final resting place(s).
It was finally time to just let go and find a new path instead of trying so desperately to hang on to the old one.