Taps

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Chris's grandfather passed away Saturday morning. Chris was close to him as he grew up literally next door to his grandparents. I discussed it a bit on my radio show last night, wherein I annoyed myself a bit by breaking down and crying on air. I don't like crying in public, I don't like showing that sort of vulnerability and I'm uncomfortable around those who don't have such neurotic hang-ups. I've always grieved very privately and didn't cry at my own grandmother's funeral because I had it in my head that if I did it would make my grandfather sadder. A lot of people mistake this as a lack of sensitivity or an absent of intimacy with my emotions - I've been called "robotic" before. I feel just as much passion as the next guy; I just have a huge personal problem rooting through those emotions in public.

I specifically broke down when I talked about how when we visited his grandfather at the hospital, before he was sent home on hospice, how his grandmother stayed by his side and fed him, spooning ice cream into his mouth. My eyes were fixated on this scene. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year and she not only stuck by and waited for him while he traveled with his infantry to liberate France, she stayed by him as he took a year to recover from the wounds he sustained doing it. All these years later she was beside him again, tending to him, wholly devoted. It was such a testament to love and commitment, one that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I can only pray that we are all so fortunate in our relationships. As his body was wheeled from his house after he passed, she continued to fuss over him, even stopping the funeral home workers at the door and asking if she could comb his hair one more time before he left the house forever. Only a great man who cares for his family and doted on his wife could invoke such adoration. She is understandably having a difficult time. I'm happy that he's had such a long, full life, that he was able to see two generations come from his union, that he was able to see some of his great-grandchildren grow. But my heart hurts for her and the father, grandfather, and great-grandfather-shaped gap left in the hearts of so many.

I finished all of my work this morning and am spending my afternoon ironing black slacks and dresses, pressing toddler-sized white dress shirts and shining occasion shoes. Ewan was born on the same day that my own grandfather died. I did not get any closure after his death and it has been a weight in my heart. My grandfather was buried will full military honors; Chris's grandfather will be as well. When the guns are fired and Taps is played at the funeral tomorrow it will take a monumental effort on my part to keep the dam from bursting.   


23 Comments

I know the feeling all too well. My prayers are being lifted for you and your family.

My heart goes out to Chris and you and the rest of the family. I'm the one that's never afraid to cry at a sad moment in a movie or at a funeral - or a wedding for that matter.

I've been made fun of for crying but I feel like we each grieve in our own manner. Recently, my cousin (who my mom considered to be as good as a daughter) died unexpectedly. I didn't cry at the funeral home, but I let loose at the mass. My mom is like you and she shed a few tears at the mass and kind of berated me for letting the waterworks flow. To each his own....

Dana and family,

I as so sorry for your loss, I don't have the words to express my sadness for you. Your family has lost a truely wonderful person. God bless!

I didn't cry at my Dad's funeral in '07 either. Partly because crying always leaves me with a massive headache, but mostly because I don't like crying in public either.

So sorry to hear of your loss. Sounds like he was a great man who lived a wonderful life. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your beautiful family.

I'm so sorry.

I am so sorry for your loss, and that of your whole family.

I'm so sorry for you and Chris' family loss. Reading you describe the love and devotion that his grandparents had for each other certainly brought a few tears to my eyes. If only we all could be that lucky. I'll keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

My heart is breaking as I read your post. What a beautiful love.

Something we did at the my husband's father's military funeral was allow the little boys to gather the spent shells from the gun salute. WE shared this with some close friends of our family when they lost their patriarch and the only grandson really enjoyed taking home a piece of that moment. Our kids have treasured those shells as well.

I feel for your and Chris' loss. I generally treat funerals the same way and grieve in private. I did change that recently though. My grandmother passed away and, making things easier for my mother and her siblings, she had planed every detail of her funeral herself. I found out that one of those details (that she had never todl me about)was her request that my dad and I perform the service. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I broke down and cried some during my portion of the service. But that public grief bonded me with my counsins and allowed us to share in the grief together. In the end, it was a good thing.

Dana, I am so sorry to hear about your loss, but what a wonderful story you shared, thank you.

I am so sorry for your loss.

I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

My condolences to Chris and his family on this sad occasion, it is never easy no matter what the age.
That scene you described of her feeding him ice cream and asking to comb his hair speaks volumes in my heart of life, the significance of companionship, true love, of taking care of someone even in death, and the richness of living through life together. What a journey it must have been.
It reminds me of the way my dad honored my mother in gestures and words I will never forget. Again I am sorry.
Thank you for sharing these personal thoughts with us in what is definitely a post to remember. (crying helps, it gets it out. It's part of the grieving and healing process.)

Dana, Chris and family,
I hope that the wonderful memories each of you holds dear will help ease the pain, fill the hole that has been left in his place, and carry you through this difficult time.

So sorry for your loss. I’m thinking of you and your family. I also want to thank you for the description of the love, devotion and commitment of Chris' grandparents. I’d like to think that my grandkids might describe my husband and me in a similar way someday. Just beautiful.

What a wonderful tribute to a man who so clearly passed down a legacy of love. How greatly blessed your boys are to have such a heritage.

Thank you for sharing about Chris's grandparents. I wish that more couples were that committed. Odd circumstances can break a marriage apart, but for most, love is a choice and they chose to keep loving. That is really inspiring.

I am so sorry for your family's loss. Thoughts and prayers.

Everyone grieves in their own way, but no one way is the right way. Let it out or hide in the bathroom. Ain't no shame in doing both, either.

Prayers for you and your family.

Dana,

I think I sent you brief condolences on twitter the other day, but in case I didn't or you didn't catch that, I want you to know that I'm sorry for your family's loss, and that you will all be in our prayers.

Your story was, as usual, incredible.

My sympathies to you, Chris, the boys and your family. Losses such as these are the very hardest to bear. They say time heals all wounds. That may be true, but the first few days, weeks, months -- they stink. Hang in, my prayers to you and yours.

I am so sorry for your loss. We did the same as you, and let the kids gather the spent shells at my grandpa's funeral. Taps, and the gun salute will get me everytime. The flood gates open... And here I am going to a funeral Friday that they're going to do all that..

My prayers are with your family!

I cannot hear Taps without crying. Both my grandfather and grandmother were buried with military honors. My condolences to your family, Dana.

I understand about not crying in front of people. Unfortunately, I can't NOT cry. Ever. Even when it's embarrassing (like at work). But I understand about not wanting to show that emotion.

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