I don’t mean “funny ha-ha”, or “funny like a clown” funny, I mean funny strange. (And if you want to see one of the most tense scenes about funny, click here, but not now, preferable after you finish reading.) Different cultures have different customs and different people have different ways of coping during the grieving process. I’m coping by writing, it’s helpful to get words out, it’s helpful to think “out loud” when there are so many thoughts scrambling inside my head. Writing about my stepfather’s death this week was necessary for my coping, my healing, my expression of my loss. My stepdad’s funeral was Tuesday. It was beautiful, as funerals go, in terms of all the people sharing their feelings and showing their support by being present. I held it together through most of the service except when family members and friends who spoke were overcome with emotion and then I would crack. It was when my ex-husband, who showed up out of his love and concern for his children, and for his respect of me, my mother and my stepfather, when he and my mom embraced and broke down, I allowed myself to lose it for a moment. However, sitting with my mom on one side of me and my three boys on the other, I didn’t know who to comfort first. My mom had just lost her husband, and partner of 20 years, and my kids just lost their Grandpa. Writing that last sentence, I am struck by the thought of “who was there to comfort me?” Well, some dear friends were at the service and came to shiva (it’s a Jewish thing), and even though I may not have been able to spend a lot of time with them, I know they were there and that means the world to me. There were some new friends who showed up at the funeral and at the house, and that has more meaning than I think even they know. Then of course, there were friends who didn’t show, for whatever reason, and I will process what that means, eventually. *I do realize (and it was kindly pointed out,) that just because people didn’t, or couldn’t show up, doesn’t mean they don’t care or love me. I also realize that my honesty may shake some people but I have to believe that it doesn’t damage the relationship but instead makes it stronger. Over the years my mother would talk occasionally about my brother’s funeral and it came up again this week, she would say “I may not remember everyone who was there, but I certainly remember who wasn’t.” It’s a funny thing isn’t it? The goodness of those who are present can sometimes be overshadowed by the lack of those who are not present. I say sometimes because I will do my best not to let that happen here, and I am encouraged by the goodness of so many, while still allowing myself to feel the disappointment in others. I don’t write this out because I want to punish, nor do I want apologies or excuses. I write this out because I am coping, I am grieving, and one day soon I hope, I will find the funny. Not the funny strange, but the funny ha-ha, the funny like a clown, the funny that my stepfather was and will be remembered for.
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