Today I continue on with last week’s post about the day of the funeral, which you’ll find here if you haven’t read it yet, and now to continue with The Funeral – The Final Goodbye – part 2, which covers the burial.
After receiving the worst comment to date, about the state of my grieving from the insensitive driver, (in last week’s post) , I also quickly want to say thank you to everyone who wrote me to send their sympathies on having had that experience!
It definitely sucked and probably made me more conscious of how I was being perceived at the time, as a cold and callous widow. Which was far from the truth, but goes to show that society, likes to dictate how we mourn.
Examples as below:
Crying widow = good, shows loss through tears and can barely speak through the sobbing, very appropriate
In control and ‘acting’ normal widow, maybe some inappropriate joking = bad, not heartbroken, obviously looking forward to new life without husband
And if this isn’t the way widows are perceived, it sure felt like this was what was expected of me, at the time.
Just a quick side story continuing on from this thought, 6 months after Nick’s passing once I was back at work, I agreed to join some friends for a quick drink after work one night. Some guy started chatting to me and I told him I was newly widowed, to which he very rudely said, ‘then what are you doing out?’
Like somehow, being a widow meant I should be holed up at home, crying over my loss, not seeing the light of day. I remember starting to defend myself, but being faced with a blank stare, so I just stormed off instead.
It was one of many insensitive comments I heard following Nick’s death.
There were so many i’ll be doing a future post, probably titled, ‘Dumb things people say to widows’, that could go on for days and days…
Back to the funeral now…
Nick had decided to be buried in a beautiful country cemetery next to my grandfather, who passed 6 months earlier. I wrote a little about Nick choosing his own plot in this earlier post.
I think most people thought it was a little morbid, Nick choosing where he’d be laid to rest, but I felt great relief in knowing it was what he wanted, and it was one less thing I had to organise alone, without him.
I don’t remember too much about this time at the cemetery, there were so many people, not just around the hole in the ground that they had specially dug for Nick, but people milling around everywhere, as far as I could see.
Still chanting ‘it’s just one day’ to myself. I remember them asking the close family to stand close to the site, as we all took a rose and as they very slowly lowered Nick into the prepared ground, as we threw our roses on top of him.
The rest of the mourners took what roses were left and did the same, a couple of friends threw other things down with him too, and then it was over, a prayer was said and it was done.
It was the final moment.
None of us would ever see Nick again, this bought the finality of our situation to light. There was no option to open his casket or see him in a viewing room, now he would only remain in our memories and hearts forever.
But, I still didn’t break down. I felt like a robot going through the motions, as I’ve said previously, I felt like this body we had just seen lowered into the earth, wasn’t Nick at all, it was just a vacant vessel.
His spirit was still all around me, keeping me sane, like I could almost hear him whispering to me, Ok, I agree that doesn’t sound very sane, but trust me, I was!
Nick’s parents were inconsolable, his mothers legs were jelly under her, they took her to sit under a tree nearby, as everyone started to disperse.
I stood a minute longer at the site alone and then looked up to find people starting to line up to pay their condolences to me. I couldn’t very well move away and break the chain, so I stood there and greeted each and every one of them.
They were mostly our families, friends, hospital staff and our work mates, plus friends of Nick i’d never had the pleasure of meeting in the flesh, but had heard so much about.
And it was the nicest thing!
With every hug and kiss, came a quick chat, ‘we’ll miss him‘, ‘work won’t be the same‘, ‘he was always right!‘, ‘he said only the best things about you‘, ‘i’m the one he used to punish at the gym‘, ‘The Golden Greek‘, ‘i’ll miss riding with him‘, ‘who’s going to bring me donuts now‘, ‘he took me under his wing‘. ‘he told us how lucky he was to have you‘, ‘he loved you so much‘ and it went on and on.
And I think my conversation ranged from, ‘oh my god, you came!‘, ‘was that you?“, ‘he thought so highly of you‘, ‘he always thought he was so funny’, ‘remember that time’, ‘know that he loved you!’ and the one that springs to mind, ‘we should have gotten around to that dinner date!’ (Teresa that one’s for you!)
And it gave me the strength I needed, hearing how loved and missed he already was.
How he had touched the lives of so many people.
From being so against doing the condolence line, it turned into the one thing I needed.
Instead of crying, I stood there grinning and laughing with each quick story, and I think I surprised so many, by being myself and reveling in these conversations.
Because as anyone will tell you, I have never shied away from talking about Nick, he’s still my favorite topic, hence this blog!
Talking about him, continues to keep his memory alive, because Nick’s greatest fear was being forgotten. But let’s be honest, he had such a big personality, we couldn’t forget him if we tried!
I’ll leave it there for today, thank you again for reading along, commenting, sharing and pressing the ol’ Like button on The Polished Widow Facebook page.
Your thoughts, comments and emails, truly make my day. I hope by sharing my posts it shows others dealing with loss and grief, that no one can tell you how to mourn, it’s something as individual as our fingerprints, no two people do it the same. (I just made that up, am I the new Oprah or what??)
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I’m also putting together a future post with all the questions i’ve been getting asked, so if you have one for me, either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , post to Facebook or send me a tweet @polishedwidow and i’ll add it to the list!
Til next week, Michela
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