Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monday was a much better day for me, with gorgeous weather and a bit of a chance to relax.

...but what made the dog thing all worse was that I was feeling blue already, I think, having been thinking of and missing my paternal grandmother. I was already a bit sad and the dog thing gave me a jolt that made it impossible not to cry. I'm not generally a melancholy person, but I admit losing both my grandmothers in a 10 month period was definitely a 1-2 punch.

I almost never go to church, but went Sunday night (before the dog-icide) to see my mom and dad. The very first hymn they told us to turn to was one I'd sung at my dad's mom's funeral in April.

I am trained as a classical vocalist and almost no singing situation intimidates me. I sang 4 things at the funeral, and held it together until the very last line of the last song but couldn't sing the last 3 words. It was sort of like having a task in the service gave me a purpose to focus on, and singing for my grandma was a way of honoring all she means to me, and what an absolute saint she was.

However, Sunday night, I could barely breathe as that song brought it all back. About halfway through the hymn, safely ensconced in a sea of voices, I managed to squeak along, but it's amazing that after 5 months it all seems too fresh. I mentioned this to dad, and he said that wasn't lost on him, either, that he'd been affected by the memory, too.

We went to dinner after the service and then over to my folks' house, and dad talked quite a bit about his mom, about what an incredible soul she is, about how she's the kind of person we should all aspire to be. Too true.

I also thought of my mom, losing her own dear mother when she was just 14, and at that age, you don't what life is, really, and you haven't begun to get enough of all you're going to need from your folks. Mom said it was decades before she could hear the song from her mom's funeral without crying.

And let's face it, there's no good time to ever lose the real-life angels you've been blessed to know.

I guess I'm really rambling here. I think part of the abiding need I have for my dog is that the dynamic between master and dog is always like when you have the tickly little baby and blow a raspberry on its belly - it's just sweet and innocent and no words are really necessary.

With the people we love, though, it's too too much. The rib-bursting enormity of feeling is agonizing and it's complex and devastating and buoying and elevating--too much so to ever adequately convey.

I'm thankful for her and for the man she inspired my dad to be. She was gracious, kind and generous. She was the soft answer that turned away wrath. She was loving, steady and constant, and it's so ironic that the quietest, most unassuming person in the family leaves the most gaping hole by her departure.

I will always miss her, but I'm thankful I had her for so long.

Anyway, as I said, I'm feeling much much better. I have real gratitude for my life and my grandma, and I forgive the poor wayward person who ran over the dog. I'm sure they were upset by it, too, and I hope they'll just be more careful in future.

8 comments:

Myron said...

Glad things are looking up.

And so sorry for your loss. You're quite correct that there's no good time to lose your angels. That got me to thinking about my losses. The last loved one I lost was my maternal grandmother 22 years ago. Now, you may think I'm twisted, but there was a spot of humor at Granny's funeral. At least in retrospect. I posted it this morning on my blog instead of taking up your comment space.

Meg Nakagawa said...

And that'd be the gandmother who was married to the Blue-Tick-Coon-Hounds-breeding grandpa?

3/4 of my grandparents passed away before I got to know them (one, like yours, when my mom was young also), so I only really had one grandpa, but he was so strict and it was a "Yes, Sir," "No, Sir," kind of no-fun relationship, so we tried the darnedest to stay out of his way, and I have to tell you, I don't really understand missing grandparents, and I envy people who do. I'm not making light of your missing her, but I hope my nephews and niece have a better relationship with my parents.

And you trained as a violinist? OK, it's official, Phlegnfatale is a committee. Because if you have sooooo much talent, what's the rest of us to do? And I'm betting all of you are hellishly hot Texas babes. Good grief, I think I'll go down to my basement and sulk...

Janean said...

You are SO brave! I NEVER could have sang at my grandmother's funeral...training or no. I actually did manage to squeak out one line when the soloist they did choose only made it through the first half of the first verse. So I chimed in with one line before I broke...then my sister managed the next line and then the entire gathering joined in. So none of us had to bear the burden alone. It was so cool and just what my Gram would have wanted.
I know how you feel about your Gram...I hope I can grow to be half the gracious lady that my Gram was.
Hey, I'll be four-oh next month, so we must have been born about a full year apart!
Anyway, you're in my thoughts. And sorry about the dog incident. That must have been just horrible!

phlegmfatale said...

myron - I look forward to reading the funny bit!

meg - that was the very same grandma - she put p with my grandpa for 70 years - it was incredible. I know it's hard to imagine what it's like if you never had grandparents, but they are some of the coolest people - no one is ever on your side the way a gram or gran can be.
No - not a violinist - a vocalist - I trained as an opera singer. And yes, we are a committee, but we all share the same body. I like your theory - it sounds so complimentary!

janean - Like I said - having the music to do gave me a task to focus on, and a way to contribute. Part of a classical voice training involves getting nerves out of the way so they are not a factor. I had a voice teacher who could intimidate a rattlesnake, and after that, it takes a lot to shake you. I have to say, at one point in a song, I felt my throat sort of clamp down, and I just relaxed and breathed deeply and it passed. After I finished singing, though, I boo hooed. THAT is one of the best funeral stories I've ever heard - the relay singing and finally everyone joining in together. That's really a lovely tribute to a wonderful woman, I'm sure!

Yup, mine's the 8th - what day is yours? We're practically twins!

Meg Nakagawa said...

Opera singer? I am _____ (floored!) You're the only person I 'know' who trained to be an opera singer, ever! (OK, I did wonder why a violinist was singing at grandma's funeral, but never mind.) You are getting awesomer and awesomer!!!

phlegmfatale said...

meg - don't be so floored - I'm not awesome - I'm a restless, short-attention-spanned weirdo with champagne taste and a martini budget. You know the saying - Jack of all trades, master of none? I'm very good at a lot of things, but I'm not good at sticking with anything - I get bored after about 5 minutes (although opera was my one abiding passion and I trained for about 5 years).

Betty said...

I don't stop by often enough...I just had to chime in here. I did not have the ideal gram\gran scenario either. My mom's folks died before I was born and my dad's folks were divorced (eons ago) and had spent my dad's entire life pretty much ignoring him. I'm here mainly because I miss him - my dad. I can't seem to resist any opportunity I find to talk about him, share him with others. He was possibly the coolest Dad ever. He was a fantastic painter, a decent actor, the most perfect Santa, one helluva janitor and an incredibly supportive Dad. ANYWAY, when he passed (almost 6 yrs now)I decided to do all of the scripture reading at his memorial service. It was the ONLY way that I could cope - having to focus on a task to honor the first man I had ever loved.
Power to the rambling ones!

phlegmfatale said...

betty - bless your heart - it's got to be one of the worst things in the world to lose a parent, and your dad sounds like one of the best. Reading the scripture sounds like a great way to calm your heart and soul for the service. Thanks for chiming in, and you're welcome back any time!