I saw my grandmother get cremated.
I was still a child. My dear grandma Lorna. I saw it. I was about 16, maybe. It was right after her funeral ended. I don’t know how I even ended up witnessing this in the mausoleum…but I did. The shit hurt me so much that I didn’t even cry. Until this moment right now, I wasn’t even sure that what I saw was even a “thing”. Denial. Everything I just read about cremation after funerals… matched exactly what I saw. Just a casket rolling into flames. As my family talked to the mausoleum staff. Beautiful service. Beautiful woman. Terrifying imagery. She died so suddenly that I didn’t get to process she was gone; that cremation skipped my emotions to the end of the book. I feel like she’s still with me all the time, and I’m 27 years old now. I tend to find it corny when people say the deceased are “still with them”. But I get it now. I get it today.
That situation made me avoid funerals as much as I could, going forward.
One of my good friends in HS lost his mother a few years ago. I love that guy. I didn’t go to the funeral. I couldn’t. Mentally, it was not an option. I felt bad for years. Felt like I left him hanging (because I did). Cowardly shit. I should have been there at that tough time.
I saw him 2 months ago, after not seeing him since then, pretty much. It was all love, smiles, daps and hugs. I’m thankful that he didn’t take that personally. If he did, he didn’t express it to me. If he saw me and flipped on me, I’d deserve every part of it. But…he is a better man than me, clearly.
My best friend from college, my dog, my brother…he lost his mom too. Maybe 2 years ago. I knew she was sick, but the news blindsided me. He dealt with it quietly. Much love to him. Amazed at how strong he has remained since. I handled this better than the previous death I mentioned. I had to. Couldn’t fail my friend.
Most recently, my best friend from HS let me know about two weeks ahead of his mother passing. I knew the funeral would be soon. I knew I would have to go, to support, because of love, because I aim to do what’s right.
I was fucking terrified of that funeral.
I tried to convince myself that I didn’t have to go….selfishly. I just didn’t feel like I could take the trauma of a funeral. I let that go in a matter of days. I committed to going because I love him and his family. They have both been there for me at my absolute WORST. When I didn’t know what to do, he helped. When I went through an absolutely disastrous break up, he was right there with me. Broke, drunk, unappreciative; he accepted me and held me down.
So I was going. No matter what. I haven’t even been to a funeral since I was 19(my grandfather). I don’t go to church. I had no idea how funerals even play out.
But I went.
The funeral went perfectly. There was a lot of love in that room. I got to sit with my friends…so it wasn’t so bad. I went up to my man, as he stood inches from his mother’s open casket. He thanked me for something I put on this blog and said he appreciates it because I spoke from the heart. That familiar hot and teary feeling covered my eyes. I put my head down and just said “thank you, we’ll talk”. My eyes were as big as half dollars, trying to keep those tears in. I sped away to my seat. I spent the night blown away at how warm and inviting everyone was. I spoke to my boy, his girlfriend, showed his family love, then made my way back to the train and went home.
I texted my girlfriend and told her the funeral went well. She asked was my friend ok. I told her he was good…then I disappeared into the night, whisked away by the 2 train.