I am 41 years old, and my experience with death of loved ones is remarkably scant. My parents are still alive. My grandparents’ deaths were long ago and I was mostly shielded from whatever rituals were executed after their passing. I have a relatively small family and a small group of friends, and the fortune of not having lost anyone from those circles in adulthood. Until my ex’s father died, I had never been to a funeral. (I tell people that and they think I’m exaggerating or joking. No, really. The first funeral I ever attended was for my then-father-in-law, and I had no idea what was going on, and being forced to spend several hours in a room at the wake with an open casket about did me in, because DUDE THAT IS CREEPY.)
In a sense this week is easier, because this time I know what to expect, and also because Otto’s family holds both “alcohol” and “inappropriate humor” in their arsenal of grief-coping mechanisms (neither were acceptable in my former marriage), and these are methods I can get behind. Although there have been tears, of course, there are also toasts and a lot of laughter (both of which are frequently followed by someone adding “cue the lightning bolt!”) and I think Otto’s mom would mostly approve. Even if she didn’t, I think she would shake her head and chuckle.
Still, it all feels fairly surreal. (more…)