Jul 24 2008

That Crazy Shit Called Life

We left on Tuesday to drive to Fresno to see John’s Father’s family. I assumed that we were going for a service for his grandmother who passed last weekend. Of course, I based my assumption on the even grander assumption that I was dealing with “normal” people.

When we arrived, the kids went nuts in their bedroom, ripping every princess dress and tiara and sparkly thing out of the drawers and collecting every truck in the entire house into the middle of the living room floor. The adults sat around and sifted through decades of photos, papers, and grandma’s treasures. At five minutes to 2, they decided it was time to book it over to the funeral home.

Like I said, I assumed there would be some kind of service. When we arrived, however, it quickly became clear that there would be no service, no verbal celebration or re-visiting of life, no words to soothe our hearts at her passing. Instead, there was a viewing. I stayed outside with the kids and felt it was one of the best decisions I’d made all week.

After that 10 minutes was up, it was decided that the best way to honor grandma’s memory was to… drive out to the Chukchansi Casino for the buffet. Because “she loved that place.”

I don’t know about you, but I sure hope my life is summed up by all you can eat cheese enchiladas and egg rolls.

We drove back, after stuffing ourselves, and the kids resumed kid behavior as if nothing had happened. They screamed and played, got into fights with the neighborhood kids, tattled, laughed and cried. It seemed so natural that I guess we all followed suit. We ended the evening by watching as John’s uncle pushed each kid up and down the street in their quarter-mini race car, which only ended when my 8 year old niece pushed on the gas, freaked out, and slammed into the neighbor’s garage door after jumping the curb.

And as anti-climactic as it seemed, and as snarky as I was about it, maybe that was the whole point. Why should we dwell on the ending of her life, when we are the continuation of it. Our celebration of life was just to go on living. And John and I are very different than the rest of his family, and there aren’t really that many times when we all have a reason to get together. So maybe the buffet was appropriate after all, as a metaphor for this family- we are enchiladas and egg rolls (and fried chicken and butterscotch pudding). You may not think we go together, but we fit side by side on a plate just fine.

Perhaps this is awkward, but I’m going with it.

eta:
(Check out John’s take.)

1 Comment

  • By HeatherPride, July 24, 2008 @ 1:41 pm

    You know, this is sort of what we did when my grandmother passed away too. No service, just sitting and chatting and remembering…..at first it was weird but after a while I felt just fine about it. In the end it was what she would have wanted – to bring the family together around her.

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