Death Musings

Oh yeah.  

I got you all psyched with that title, I know it.  
You’re cruising around blogtown with your snazzy little handbag and colorful scarf feeling all breezy and cool and all “Hi, how’s it going?” and stopping by all of your very closest cyber-friends’ places to get a little chuckle and leave a hello and maybe find some little gem along the sidewalk and then…
You’re not sure whether you should stop or maybe just pass for today…yeah, why don’t you? Just go ahead and click away if you’re in no mood.  It’s cool.  I feel ya.  I’m not one who likes to be a buzz-kill or anything. 
But if you’re just a little bit curious or maybe just feeling a little generous today…
come on in.
I know it’s a little dark in here.  But not pitch dark – there’s a few warm candles burning and the couch is still all comfy and welcoming so have a seat. 
So yeah, I got some death thoughts swirling.  I guess that happens when someone you love dies, right? 
I think it should be mandatory for anyone grieving to take a night drive through the desert. The splattering blur of constellations across yes, a pitch pitch black black desert sky, does something for the soul that is well, transcendent. 
I took the same drive just a year ago when my grandma (THE original mom without a blog) died and I felt the same way as I did last night. The souls of the recently departed are all fresh and still searching for their place I think and in the quiet black of that desert starry sky, they speak to me. And it’s comforting.
My brain crunches hard on what happens the instant you leave this world and start your journey to the next.   It’s not a scary thought for me – just an extremely intriguing one.  
I spoke to my aunt less than five days before she died and it simply trips me out to think I won’t hear her voice anymore.  I mean, I’ll hear it…it just won’t sound the same.
Tonight I sit with my three kiddos finally snoozing and I prepare for the next two days of the formal goodbye.  Tomorrow we will head to one of those fascinating funeral homes where we will hang all day with the body that housed the soul of my aunt.  We’ll cry, we’ll laugh, we’ll tell stories, we’ll chase the kids around telling them to be quiet but everyone will be relieved by the distraction of them, we’ll eat and eat some more because that would make my aunt happy, we’ll pray, we’ll do what you do when you take some time to contemplate a life.
I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was 5 years old when my mom’s mom died and the viewing of the body was quite a scene.  It was my first look at a real dead person.  I remember both my mom and my dad crying and hugging in front of the coffin – my little 5-year-old brain looking up at them and feeling a little freaked that my dad was crying.  I had never seen that one before.  
My older brother (just 15 months older) encouraged me to touch my grandma’s hand.  I did.  It felt hard and cold and that memory has kept me from wanting to touch any more dead people. I prefer to remember the touch filled with warmth and life so I’ll forgo any touching tomorrow.  For sure.
Now that I’m the mother – the one guiding my kids’ experience when it comes to death and saying goodbye – it puts a different spin on things.  I am thankful my parents were believers in dealing with the pain of goodbyes in a honest, upfront way.   They never acted like death or saying goodbye was anything less than just a part of living.   And with the death of my grandmother a year ago, and now my aunt, my girls at ages 6 1/2 and 4 1/2 have a chance to remember how the concept of death was made real to them.   
And that concept will include hanging out with a body in a coffin all day long, playing with their cousins, eating treats, seeing their mama cry, seeing their grandparents cry, seeing their aunts and uncles cry, finding some cool hide-and-seek spots around the funeral home I’m sure, and maybe, just maybe, it will include touching a dead body.  
Not that I will encourage it, that’s for damn sure.
So if you’ve stuck around this long, any thoughts on kids viewing or touching a dead person?

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