Saturday, April 03, 2010

Returning: Part of Me

Thanks so much to everyone here and on Facebook for your kind thoughts and actions. Know that they are appreciated very much. I managed to get some things set up that Monday at school so my students didn’t get two weeks completely off. Still, they have missed some work and I hope I have the energy to get them back to the grind. We were off this past week for Spring break, so now it will be a race to graduation starting this coming Monday (April 5). I am not looking forward to it, since my mind is still not doing a very good job of focusing.

The rosary service and funereal for my mom went as well as could be expected. There were many flowers and plenty of hugs. That did not make them pleasant experiences. But these are things you endure, perhaps the ultimate human activity. I have lots of relatives and many of them I have not seen in years. One thing that happened several times and really didn’t make me feel better was when some relative would corner me and say: “Do you remember who I am?” I really, really didn’t feel like taking a test while I was just trying to get through the day. In at least one case I appear to have insulted someone pretty badly by mistaking a daughter for a much older mother.

Although it has been thirty years since I’ve had the flu, I came down with it right after the funeral. I managed to keep running on adrenaline until I got back home and got some stuff done Saturday. Then I pretty much just collapsed. I’ve never had the flu this bad. The cough eventually turned bacterial so that added to the recovery time. I’m still not feeling really strong but am able to go through most of the motions. I’d better be, because Monday is closing in like a freight train.

I do not know right now what to say about my mom. I feel like she’s still in the act of passing. It isn’t complete for me yet. I’m glad it’s complete for her, though, because she was truly suffering and that is a wound that takes a long time to heal. I will speak for a while about her still in the present tense.

I love you, mom.



Randy Johnson said...

People, especially those one hasn't seen in a long time, have trouble saying the right thing at times of sorrow. I sympathize with you and I'm sure the lady that felt insulted willm with time, realize your mind frame at the time wasn;t such that you remember everybody.

I'm certain your thoughts of older times were filled with those concerning your mother. A lovely lady by the way.

the walking man said...

It isn;t the easiest thing to do to move away from one who was at our beginnings Charles.

The one that was there for all of our bruises and breaks of the bones and hearts. Yet with time comes the understanding that in her sleep she is resting, dead to this reality but waiting for the one promised, the one she believed in with all of her being.

If you can find no comfort in that for yourself please at least find comfort for her present state of being, for her. she sleeps with her ancestors and waits her final return to living that has no more pain or death in it. And that my friend is really what we all look forward to in this finite place.

Rest, be well and on Monday go back at them and remember the Durfee grading curve if you get to tired to do it your way.

nephite blood spartan heart said...

Our Prayers are with you, hang in there.

Travis Cody said...

That's a lot coming at you all at once. I hope you can be selfish with even a small amount of personal time and space and maybe fix yourself a cocoon of sanity.

Rick said...

You and Lana have had a hard time recently. I wish there was something I could say to make it instantly better for you. That's one of the attractions of magic, isn't it?

But writers are lucky. We can keep alive the ones we love every time we sit down and write.

Email me if there's anything I can do for you.

fairyhedgehog said...

I'm sorry that such an awful time was complicated by getting the flu. I do hope you get physically better quickly. I know that the emotional wounds take much longer to heal.

ArtSparker said...

Charles, this has been such a rough time for you. Then of course the body helpfully distracts you from your emotional pain by welcoming a virus...I am hoping you and Lana get some rest and recuperation time as the weather warms up. You've certainly earned it.

Mary Witzl said...

Funerals are trying experiences in every way. At my mother's funeral, I'll never forget overhearing a lengthy discussion of why the funeral wasn't an open casket affair. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

My mother died decades ago, but I still feel as though she's right here with me. (In a good way.) I hope this gets easier for you too, Charles.

LoveRundle said...

That's a lovely picture of her. It never feels real right away, but I think that's part of the process.

laughingwolf said...

glad you're recovering from the bug, charles...

no way to get over from a parent passing; my dad died two years ago, and mom, more than 10... big holes in my soul, never to be filled

blessings to you and yours this holy weekend...

eric1313 said...


I understand sir. For a long while I felt numb and somewhat lost after my Aunt passed. And her funeral held eerily similar situations--too many people asking me to think back to times beyond the grasp of memory. Additionally, I had to put up with lots of JW things (Most of my relatives are witnesses), which rather upset me further, as I felt like I was a target of opportunity for their typical evangelism.

I hope you find all the strength you can muster to handle all of the work you have ahead of you. Nearing the end of a college semester is stressful and hectic enough without having to deal with such a profound loss as well. If you have to take your time posting or visiting, nobody will be offended, all will understand, I'm sure of it.

Take care. Best to both of you during this time.

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy Johnson, Yes, that’s a very good picture of her.

Mark, thanks, Mark. I may have to use that curve.

David J. West, thanks, I appreciate that.

Travis, yes, it would be nice to stop the carousel for a bit. Before long things will quieten down.

Rick, thanks, I appreciate that. It will be good to get started back on the work rather than being in a holding pattern, but I hope this lingering bug goes away soon.

fairyhedgehog, It would really be nice to have the energy to go forward with the work. That would help some at least.

ArtSparker, I’ve never gotten a weakened immune bug like that, I don’t think. It’s certainly very unusual.

Mary Witzl, I know. I never know what to say when someone says to me, “she looks so natural.” It’s just such a surreal statement to me.

Christina, yes, I know it’s going to be a process, and I’m ready for it if I can just get to feeling better physically.

laughingwolf, my dad died in 1972 but you’re right, every April I remember. He and mom both died in the spring now.

eric1313, I am really looking to just try and survive the end of the semester and then take some time over the summer to get back to myself.

G. B. Miller said...

A very nice pic of your mom. Not sure what else to say (it seems I never know what to say when a friend's loved one passes away), but speaking about her in the present tense can only help accentuate the good memories and times in the long run.

Merisi said...

your mom will stay with you,
and will so in a good way.
Loved ones stay in our heart,
it may sound corny,
but it is true,
as long as we remember them,
they are there.

I am so sorry to hear that you have been hit by the flu, that is not something to tuck away lightly. I wish you a speedy recovery and the physical stamina to get through those coming weeks.


Merisi said...
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Merisi said...
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Lisa said...

My mother in law said to me whether expected or not, death is shocking. There is a finality in it that takes time to sink in. And the human activities around are there to distract. On hindsight, you will realise it is exactly what you needed.

Take care Charles and family. It has to be one step at a time before you get back running.

David Cranmer said...

I've been in some of those same awkward/annoying funeral situations. What is it with people anyway?

As Randy already said, a lovely lady.

sage said...

I'm sorry about your mother, Charles. It must be hard. I have experienced those little exams, "Don't you know who I am?" They're not really comfortable, either.

Laurie Powers said...

Charles, there's not much I can say that hasn't been said already. Funerals are never a place where people are comfortable. I've lost a sister but truthfully I don't remember much of what happened because I have blocked all of it out. What I do remember is my heart breaking. But most of the pain diminishes with time. My thoughts are with you and Lana. You two are some of my favorite people in this arena in which we socialize.

Spy Scribbler said...



The very first story I ever wrote was a sort of horror story about my father's funeral. I don't know. I think we need better rituals.

Barbara Martin said...

Take some personal time for your grief, Charles. This will help with your day-to-day activities.

A lovely photo of your mother to remember her by.

Charles Gramlich said...

G, there's nothing ever that anyone can truly say. It's just enough to know that people care.
Merisi, I do believe that. For sure.

Ocean Girl, yes, the greatest shock there can be. IT tears us away from everything familiar.

David Cranmer, I guess no one really knows how to handle those kinds of situations. Maybe they are looking for reassurance.

sage, people can be so messed up, sometimes. Just people being people.

Laurie Powers, I do remember my sister's funereal. This was a lot different, of course. Death does strange things to us.

Natasha Fondren, I can still remember one particular image of my father's funeral. I agree, some better rituals would be nice.

Barbara Martin, I think it will probably be summer before I'm really able to come to grips with mom's passing. I should have some time then to think and heal.

Harry Markov said...

My thoughts are with you in this trying time.

Funerals are a tough experience with no easy way to handle. How does one try to console the inconsolable? I am sure that the distant relatives won't mind the few mistakes.

Your mother was a lovely lady.

Steve Malley said...

Eloquent, moving and beautiful. My heart feels like a fist in my chest. Your love for your mom shows in every sentence. Thank you.

BernardL said...

Our folks never pass from memory. They provide guidance and comfort in our thoughts until we become a passing memory to others. It has always been a cycle of joy, sadness and bittersweet smile of remembrance.

eric1313 said...

Summer will be good for that, a time to find some respite from everything.

Thanks for dropping by. And keeping my link open. Not promising anything, but I think I can make good now on re-dedication to the cause... especially after only 2 posts last year...

Take it easy.

Middle Ditch said...

Firstly my condolences to you and Lana, Charles. These are stressful times. I know, I have been there. I also have a very large family and, during her funeral, many years ago now, I also had that experience of people coming up and asking that same question whilst I was grieving deeply.

Secondly, you probably came down with the flu because your body is telling you to take it easy. So take it easy, as easy as you can.

Thirdly, your mum will always be with you. In your heart and in your mind. I have a lovely photograph of mine on the wall and whenever I need encouragement, or sympathy, I will stand in front of that smiling picture and talk to her and I swear that she hears me.

Recently my favorite aunt, her sister, also died and a small photograph of my aunt is put on the side of my mother's photograph. Sisters together in eternity.

You posted a lovely picture of your mother.

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm sorry, hon. It's a process, you know...losing a loved one. Just let me know if you ever need anything. *hug*

pattinase (abbott) said...

And she knows you love her. I truly believe it. And I speak in the present, too.

RA said...

I am sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my mom last year, so I know what you are talking about. Your mom will always be with you...

Michelle's Spell said...

Dear Charles,

So sorry to hear about all this sadness. Grief, mourning, all awful. Your mom is lovely and I will be sending lots of good thoughts your way.

Anonymous said...

Charles, I'm glad you are back home. I'm sorry about your mother. Yes, there are a lot of people here that care about you and you can count me among those. The best to you and Lana.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles, I am so sorry for your loss. I was very struck by your comment that your mom is still in the act of passing. So very true. Follow your heart ... it will heal you as your body healed after your uncharacteristic illness.

Take care of yourself, particularly in the busy time you have in the next few weeks.


j said...

You have been through so much emotionally and physically. I dearly want to offer some words of comfort but unfortunately, they are merely words. I will keep you in my prayers, especially today as you head back to school.

The photo of your mother is lovely Charles.

Charles Gramlich said...

Harry Markov, thanks. I know most of them didn't care, anymore than I would have cared under the circumstances. Just, people are a bit strange at funereals. You never know how to act.

Steve Malley, thanks, Steve. I appreciate the kind words.

BernardL, as the wounds heal, the memories become a source of joy and smiles. But when they are fresh... well. we all know what that is like.

eric1313, healing needs time, of course.

Middle Ditch, they also had pics up at the funereal of my sister, who preceded my mom in death. THat was a nice touch.

Lana Gramlich, you have been my strength, sweetness.

pattinase, sometimes in the past few years my mom had not been very happy with me because of her religious beliefs, but I trust that now she knows the truth and understands our disagreements were minor.

RA, thanks, I appreciate the words. I know things will get better with time.

Michelle, thanks. And thanks so much for the lovely card.

Jack, thanks. That means a lot.

Don's Untidy Hut, yes, I still have a very real sense of transition happening.

jennifer, thanks, that will be appreciated.

jodi said...

Charles, take all the time you need to heal physically and mentally. Your Mom was loved and she died knowing that. o

Anndi said...

I've lost both Mom and Dad... it's a sorrow that can't be explained.

I went into "strong" hyperdrive and it made me ill. And sick of things I normally loved. Some of those things were specific people.

It's not something we get over quickly, my friend. Remember to take time to grieve as best you can... and get rest. The stress you've been under can buckle most people's knees.


Harry Markov said...

Death is uncomfortable in this day and age. Everybody tries to avoid and in the end, we cannot learn to accept it, thus acting adequately at a funeral.

Voidwalker said...

I can hear the numbness in your post. It sounds like it was a very overwhelming experience being there and I agree that it probably wasn't the best time for family members to be grilling you about recollection. At least you had a lot of support through it and as you said, your mother isn't suffering anymore. I hope you can heal up quickly and get some solid ground again soon. Until then, we are here for ya.

Travis Erwin said...

Hang in there Charles.

AvDB said...

So many people want to do well, but it can be suffocating.

I hope you are feeling better, at least physically.

Your Mom was a beautiful woman, and I'm sure--from the evidence I've seen of her son--was as lovely on the inside.

May she rest well.

ivan said...

Doesn't that alway seem to go?

In the depths of grief, and somebody is trying to give you an IQ test!

And then the other shoe drops with the flu.

Sort of like my sisters while I was going through a bad time and they wouldn't raise a hand.

"That must be awfully unconfortable for you."

Charles Gramlich said...

jodi, thanks.

Anndi, I noticed today even my food tastes seem to have changed. It's kind of weird.

Harry Markov, I know I've scarcely done better. These are mistakes we keep making.

Voidwalker, thanks. Much appreciated.

Travis Erwin, thanks, dude.

Charles Gramlich said...

Avery, thanks. She was indeed a sweet person.

Ivan, I'm just really wanting to feel physically well. It's been a couple of weeks now.

Jo said...

Aw.... Charles, it's no wonder you have the flu. Your body has crashed and burned after what you have been through. I still cry for my Mom sometimes, and I miss her terribly. You will miss her for a long time. Just remember -- you are her immortality. She lives on in you.

Take care of yourself!


Barrie said...

thinking of you xo

Charles Gramlich said...

Jo, the flu definitely yanked me up short by the chain of reality.

Barrie, thankee!

Heff said...

Present tense accepted, dude.

Unknown said...

Charlie, I didn't know about your mom until I read this post. I'm so sorry. I think of you often.

cs harris said...

I'm so sorry, Charles. As a psychologist, I'm sure you know a lot more about the grieving process than i do. I think one of the things that makes it so hard is that our society has lost the mourning rituals that both comforted us and made grieving acceptable in the past.

Someone said to me today that grief isn't something you get over, it's something you have to work your way through, and that struck me as so true. It's now been nearly a month since my mother's death, and I still can't go into her room without feeling a physical pain. It just flat out hurts.

X. Dell said...

I can understand, although I have not undergone that process as of yet. There are all sorts of business things to attend to around such times, on top of the social duties (like recognizing everyone there off the bat) that just complicate matters more and more--especially during a time of mourning.

Hope you get over the cold, and adjust to the other maladies the best you can.

Erik Donald France said...

Charles, that was sweet and moving. I am sorry for your loss, and pretty much get what you're saying here. Salud and Godspeed.

Charles Gramlich said...

Heff, yep.

Cultureshift, thanks. I appreciate that.

Candy, I recognize that feeling. Like the story of the rosary I told you the other night. Thanks for the kind words.

X. Dell, life is such that there never is time to just grieve, or just deal with work. Always there are multiple experiences happening.

Erik Donald France, thanks. I appreciate that.