Thursday, June 10, 2010

I feel like I am finally coming back up for air after all of the sorrow that has filled this week.

We returned from Montreal on Monday (we got the bad news during the drive back), and when I went into work on Tuesday morning, I immediately burst into tears and could not compose myself enough to do any actual work. My family's loss weighed heavily on my mind and it was pretty much impossible to think of anything else.

Thankfully, I have really understanding coworkers and after I explained what had happened in my family, I was essentially told to go home and take the rest of the week off. Paid. Without it affecting any of my vacation and/or sick time. And the death isn't even in immediate family! I think my company recognized that, given the circumstances, this was a bit more of a tragic situation than most.

God, there are so many reasons to love my new job. THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU to the people who run my company. I mean, seriously.

To help out our family, my mom and I ran some funeral-related (and some non-funeral-related) errands on Tuesday afternoon. Then we treated ourselves to pedicures to try to take our minds off of things. I spent Tuesday night designing and printing cards containing driving directions from the cemetery to my mom's house (she volunteered to host the reception).

Even though I had been told to take time off, I felt bad not working at ALL this week, so I did go into work on Wednesday morning. I actually kept very busy, as I've had a lot to do. I left at noon, though, so that I could attend all of the calling hours with my family. The calling hours were hard, but aside from one short episode, I surprised myself in being able to hold it together throughout the afternoon and evening.

Clearly, I was saving myself for today.

The tears began as soon as the funeral mass did, and I sobbed throughout pretty much the entire freaking thing. The eulogy was given by some of the family members most affected by this person's death, and it was beautiful and meaningful. Of course, because it was so beautiful and meaningful, it was also horribly sad, all at the same time.

Plus, the music. Is there anyone who can keep from sobbing during "Amazing Grace" or "Ave Maria" or "On Eagle's Wings" at a funeral? Because I swear, as much as I love music, it adds a whole 'nother dimension of emotion for me. I was already crying, and the songs--they just add insult to injury, don't they? MAN, I was a mess.

But then... THEN! We went to the cemetery for the burial and it was a military service. I've never been to a military service before, but I knew it would be bad for me. And sure enough, when they played "TAPS," I don't know if I've ever felt such sadness. Then the whole flag folding business, and handing it to the deceased's family? It's so beautiful and poignant and an honor, but DEAR LORD, I AM A PREGNANT, SOBBING, CRYING MESS.

Anyway, I think you understand the point. The last few days have been hard. Today sucked.

It almost makes me feel guilty to pick myself up and move on, as I know it will not be as easy to do for other members of my family. They have a long journey of healing ahead of them, and now that the formal grieving is over, it's hard to know what to do for them now. But I think we're all looking forward to being able to look forward. I think everyone recognizes that even in the midst of this tragedy, there is much to be thankful for and be happy about.

Babies, for instance. We have three more precious new babies on the way in July, September, and January. Looking around and seeing all of the pregnant girls at the funeral really helped to symbolize that life, even in its darkest hours, does go on.

The sun will rise again.


Shauna,  June 11, 2010 at 3:31 PM  

I'm so sorry Heather. Your family has been in my thoughts.

Michelle June 11, 2010 at 3:34 PM  

What a trying week it has been for you and your family. The services sounded beautiful and I hope that you were able to get even a tiny amount of closure and peace through those services. You can't feel guilt for life moving on. It just does. And for a while, hearing people laugh and carry on will be hard when you feel broken but it is ok to feel that way.

Hang in there. I'll continue to think of your family.

Amanda June 11, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

A good friend of mine died with full military honors. She was 19. While I always thought that Taps was a "cool" song and it gave me chills, now I can't hear the song without tears. It's so incredibly moving.

Time heals all things, but it doesn't mean the sorrow and loss goes away. Don't be afraid to cry - it's the best healer I've found. Good luck, and thoughts and prayers are with you.

Wishing on stars June 11, 2010 at 4:57 PM  

Heather I'm sorry. I don't even "know" you or your family and I feel like crying for you.

I hope your family is able to recover, even slightly, from this as time goes on.

Katie June 11, 2010 at 7:31 PM  

I'm so sorry Heather, I truly am. I lost my uncle to suicide two years ago, and it honestly rips you apart inside when someone passes in that manner. All I can tell you is, with time, things do get better (never 100%, but better), and you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Becky June 11, 2010 at 7:35 PM  

We had a family member commit suicide a few years ago. She was my dad's cousin. And while she wasn't immediate family, she lived with my parents right before she passed. It was horrible. I think I cried for a week straight. And I totally hear you on the music choices. Those are typical funeral songs in my family too and I cannot keep it together. At all.

hugs to you and your family.

Dana June 11, 2010 at 8:37 PM  

Sorry for your loss.

Ann Marie June 11, 2010 at 9:50 PM  

Heather, I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I started to tear up as soon as you mentioned "On Eagle's Wings". It was played at my grandmother's funeral, and ever since then, just the melody can send me into sobs. And I don't have any pregnancy hormones! :-)

You are such a strong person, and your family has such a tight bond, I know you will all get stronger together through this experience.

God bless.

Megan June 12, 2010 at 6:48 AM  

My condolences again, Heather. I know what you mean about the songs at a funeral mass. It was MONTHS before I could not cry during regular mass if they played any of those songs after my Dad died. Continued prayers for your family.

Alina June 12, 2010 at 3:46 PM  

So sorry for your loss Heather. Everything takes time and this will too. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Kristin June 14, 2010 at 10:32 AM  

I'm so sorry for the loss of your family member, but you are correct in your ending statements, there is NEW life on the way. It can't replace the life that was lost, but it can help to fill the void your family.

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