I just got back from spending the last few days with my parents and cousin at my grandparents house. They live about five hours away in a quiet, calm place right smack in the middle of nature. Other than the burial and quick service on Saturday morning, we hardly left the house.
Chuck is now laid to rest in a very small, spacious, rustic and western cemetery. It is so beautiful and has the most peaceful vibe. Hardly any graves compared to what you think of when you hear the word cemetery. No grass, all dirt. Tall trees in the midst of red rock. So strangely perfect for him. After we left the cemetery I felt okay. I felt right.
Since the funeral thursday I still feel my heartbreak, but also a strong sense of peace.
I spent the rest of the day sitting on the back porch. I did little else. My dad and I listened to the first hundred pages or so of "Life of Pi" on his phone. He'd downloaded it but hadn't gotten a chance to listen yet. We listened for a long time, staring out into nothing...nothing being a gorgeous landscape. It was the first day in a long time I can honestly say I've been aware of being present.
Doing nothing. And being totally in the moment.
Actually, it's been starting to happen since last week. On Sunday, when Chuck left us.
If you read my previous blog, and the speech I gave at his funeral, http://beanerlarue.blogspot.com/2012/05/ode-to-our-chuck.html then you'd know that it was the day when everything changed. Totally and completely changed. The world really is now seen through a new filter.
For me, and for my immediate family who was there that day (and who I was closest to growing up). My mom. My dad. My cousin Lacey (Chuck's only daughter), my aunts Farah & D'yana (my mom's sisters) my uncle Larry (my mom's brother. More of my younger cousins. All on that side of the family, the ones who were in and out of my childhood home practically daily for the first nineteen years of my life until I moved to New York. While there are some I may connect with more, or keep in touch with more...when I think of the word family, it is that group. They may drive me crazy. We may gossip. We may avoid. We may reach out. But one thing I was certain of that day last week and haven't been able to stop thinking about since, is that no matter which one of us might have been laying there, the others would have surrounded them just the same.
Family is a strange thing. A mysterious group of people meant to be connected to each other...for whatever reasons.
I felt myself mourning and healing at the same time. Having no computer to distract me. No work to worry about. I am craving more. I am not yet ready to integrate myself back into life. I am in need of so many things right now. But for once I can tell you exactly what those things are. And for once I feel no pressure. No rush. I just know that now is the time.
I am still in need of hibernation. I am seeking what is natural. What is minimal. Only what is necessary. I want nothing false. I want no current relationship to continue that isn't genuine. I want authenticity. I want to get back to the bare bones of me. And build on it. It is time for change. For transformation. To become something else. To shed a skin.
I've never felt such an absolute shift of my soul and the way I see and react to what the world has brought me and has yet to offer me.
When Chuck left us I knew nothing would ever be the same. And I mean that so profoundly, that saying those six words, "nothing would ever be the same" don't touch it. It's as big as the earth cracking open and suddenly you find yourself on a brand new continent that wasn't there just a minute ago.
Things also seem foreign. Absurd. I have seen so completely with my own eyes now that we are not our physical bodies that the idea of buying mascara or paying for a haircut or color or updating my facebook status superfluously seems absolutely absurd. Absurd! I compare how absurd this now feels to me as if I was handed a book in chinese, asked to read it and tell you what it was about. My brain cannot make sense of this.
A chain reaction that will alter everything from now on has been set in motion. We were picked up, spun around, and set down. Dizzy, sad and exhausted on new paths. I can only hope (and I do feel) we're now facing in the right directions.
Something else happened do me on thursday. My mom spoke at the funeral right before I did. If you know my mom, you like her. Everyone that meets her does. She is the type of person who possesses the skill to have a conversation and make friends with anyone and everyone. She likes people and they like her. In fact, they love her. Sometimes so much that I have to remind her to pay attention to me. I'm not saying this because she doesn't. She does. We are as close as close can be. But probably because I am an only child. And as I've recently learned, still in major need of my mom.
Another thing you may know about her, if you've ever spent time with her, is that she cares. She is the ultimate caretaker. She has sacrificed more of herself, time, life and youth to give to others. To give to a fault. Because she cares. And loves that deeply.
I found I'd started to resent this. She wasn't doing enough for her. Why doesn't she pursue her passions more? She wasn't spending enough time with me. Why would she rather run all over town with Chuck, driving him to endless doctor appointments and getting his groceries?
But then I saw him get very sick, and I saw the way she never left his bedside. I mean never. I saw her as a child. As she must have been at five years old, right down to her ponytail, wanting to be with her big brother. I felt I was observing something different. And terribly intimate.
When she spoke of all that transpired since his turn for the worst last September, she spoke from the heart. She told what she (and more often than not what only she) observed. Both late at night in conversation when Chuck was scared to go to sleep and spoke of regrets, and at the endless doctor appointments. About how our big invincible Chuck was scared of the needles constantly prodding and poking.
I'd never seen her in front of a crowd like that. She was determined to deliver her words with dignity, for Chuck and not break down. She was determined not to wear black and stood glowing in the most colorful new dress. I was so nervous to speak next I thought my heart was literally going to beat out of my chest. I could see it pounding. But seeing her up there gave me strength. And as she talked I found myself do a complete 180. What she had spent her time doing that I'd found an annoyance to me, suddenly seemed so absolutely amazing, it took my breath away.
Never, have I observed such compassion. Who does that?! Who would do that?! I was proud. I was so proud to be her daughter. To be a part of her. I found it strange to think, really think, about being half of my mother and half of my father laced with bits of all these other people I'm connected to by blood. For the first time I wanted it. I embraced it. I didn't want to rebel against it. I wanted to look like her. I wanted to be me at my most stripped away. I wanted to see what my natural hair color was. I wanted to be just what she and my father made me, and nothing more.
I am shedding a skin both internally and on the outside.
I'm going to need a minute.
I guess that's all I want to say for now.
Oh yeah...and I want to write more.