Underwater ballet

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.

I don’t know if it would be less weird if all four of us were here. Maybe. Maybe not. But we discuss logistics and schedules and hymns and Monkey runs around with his cousins and I drink tea and do the things I am supposed to and pretend I am not missing Chickadee or counting down the days we have left with her. The wake is today, the funeral is tomorrow, we leave the following day and go straight from the airport to the hospital to have Chickie discharged. Then we have less than two days to finish packing her up before she leaves us.

So we talk about pallbearers and who should do readings and I try to keep my head in the moment, but then I check my email and have to deal with custody paperwork and insurance transfers and our current school district wanting to know where to send transcripts and files. I respond to emails. I laugh at the stories being tossed back and forth of the memories we’re trying to hold on to. I try to stay in this moment. And then more family shows up and eventually someone looks around and comments that Monkey has gotten so tall and is Chickadee here somewhere? And Otto and I exchange a look and say no, she’s not here, she’s in the hospital. This is followed by a few questions and answers, and then there’s an awkward silence. It ends when someone launches into another story about Otto’s mom, and all I can think is that Chickadee was her only granddaughter and she’s not here and that would’ve made her so sad. A part of me is relieved that we never had to tell her that Chickadee is moving; she would’ve been so worried about all of us if she’d known.

We defrost casseroles and set out boxes of tissues and clothes are being ironed even as I type. The dress shoes I ordered for Monkey just hours before we left Georgia arrived here via overnight shipping, but didn’t fit. So today after we went out for a late breakfast and gulped cup after cup of coffee, we detoured to a local strip mall and I tossed black shoes at my son until we found an acceptable pair. I chuckled to myself while I paid, because they were more money than I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes for either child, more money than I generally spend on shoes for MYSELF. They were not on sale. And it didn’t matter. This is how I know we are in Serious Times. I pay full price and it doesn’t matter.

Monkey is tearful and Otto is by turns animated and unusually quiet. I can’t tell if the Chickadee-sized hole in this experience is making it easier or harder; I know if she was here, she might be a comfort to Monkey. Having the distraction of paperwork and logistics is keeping my mind off the fact that we’ll be facing an open casket in a few hours and in a few days my daughter will no longer live with me. I also feel like my mother-in-law would pat my arm if she was here and whisper that I should do whatever I need to take care of my babies. And then she’d follow it with a doting remark about Otto and what a good father he turned out to be. She’d be right, of course. I am really going to miss her.

Just now there was a joke about wearing chaps to the wake. You probably had to be here, but it was funny. We all laughed. And even that was not enough to break through what feels like this giant wall of water I am moving through. Sound is dulled, everything feels a little slow, and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I can’t swim fast enough to stop the people I love from drowning.


  1. Tenessa

    Just hugs. TONS of hugs to you, Mir.

  2. deva

    so many hugs, indeed, Mir.

  3. Otto

    I don’t think we are drowning, definitely in some rapids without a paddle. But people drown alone and we are not.


  4. Jenne

    Sending all the love possible over the interwebz.

    When my father-in-law died, his urn was a Dodge red Craftsman toolbox with a Mack bulldog welded to the lid, and fishing poles crossed over the top.

    Hope that makes you smile.

    Love & hugs, Jenne

  5. addy

    “just keep swimming….”

  6. Gaylin

    Cling to your life rafts, they are all around you.
    Grief is difficult, weird and discombobulating.
    Laughter is good.
    Take care.

  7. Deirdre

    And more hugs.

  8. Susan

    Oh, Mir. There’s water, water everywhere because now the tears are falling on my end. Saying a prayer because it’s all I can do for you. Hugs.

  9. Sheila

    Oh, Mir.

    When there is awkward silence, I hope you remember all the people who are rooting for your family. I’m sure Otto’s mom is at the front of the line. Peace to you and Otto in the days and nights to come.

  10. diane

    Wow. Otto’s comment here is pretty tough to beat. I will remember that one.

  11. suzie

    Oh, Mir.


  12. amy

    This hurts just to read. I’m so sorry. Just so fucking sorry. :(

  13. Beth R

    HUGE hugs being sent to you and all of Otto’s family.

  14. Rach

    ((HUGS)) You may feel like the world is crashing down, but I see you still standing. Where is Chickadee going? I assume to her dad’s?

  15. Angie McCullagh

    Otto is wonderful. I’m deeply sorry about your mother in law’s passing. Alcohol and humor does help a bit. But, where is Chickie going? I feel I missed a post somewhere along the way…

  16. Angie McCullagh

    That should be DO help a bit. Gah!

  17. Raquel

    Huge hugs to all of you. What you are doing is taking care of your babies. Keep writing. I am sorry for your loss(es). We are all throwing you life preservers.

  18. Genevieve

    Mir, Otto’s comment is the most beautiful and true thing I’ve read in a while, and I will keep it in the forefront of my mind for you all (and for me when I need it). I hope your paddles appear to you all soon.

  19. Alison C

    My god I love Otto! What a perfect thing to say.
    Love to ALL your family wherever they may be

  20. Melanie

    Otto’s comment… Just wow… that speaks volumes. Prayers, drinks and inappropriate humor! And hugs too!

  21. Beth B.

    Thinking of you – you are such a strong woman. My condolances to you and your family also.

  22. heather

    Oh darlin…hugs. you are amazing and dealing with so many stressors at once, and its just not fair. I wish God/the universe was a damned socialist when it came to the distribution of heartaches, cause some seem to have way more than their fair shares. Or at least pace it out a little more….
    Otto is definitely right in that y’all are not alone. Love to you and yours!

  23. karen

    I just love what Otto said.

    Mir… you’ve got a big life raft right there next to you … just hold on.

    You’re all going to swim. Believe it.

  24. cheyenna

    Love and hugs go out to all of you.

  25. liz

    Sobbing here at my desk thinking of you all.

  26. Jamie

    Love and hugs!

  27. Amy

    When all four of my grandparents died in quick succession (man, that sucked), I was SO thankful for my family’s usage of inappropriate humor in shitty times. We’d be doubled over in laughter at the funeral home, tears streaming down our faces, with no way to know if the tears were because we were laughing or actually crying.

    Keep swimming. And cracking terrible jokes along the way. You’ll get there (wherever *there* is) eventually.

  28. magpie

    Love and strength to you, Mir. And keep Otto, okay?

  29. kimmie

    (((HUGE HUGS)))

    My dad passed away this summer. We were discussing plots at the cemetery and the guy at the funeral home asked if he should be buried next to my grandma…..his MOTHER IN LAW….UH….Maybe you should leave a plot in between them.


    It’s a tough surreal experience as it is let alone missing Chickadee.

  30. Ann

    There’s definitely something to be said for large families and lots of experience with funerals. I went to my first funeral at 14 (missed an exam for it – fist pump!), and by the time I went to university I’d been to over 40 funerals.

    Like you and Otto, our family deals with grief with tears and laughter and inappropriateness followed by cautious looks at the sky to make sure the lighting bolt hits your cousin beside you and misses you.

    You will get through this week. You will be strong and weak at the same time, and lean on Otto and let him lean on you.

    Like an A-Frame – you’re both stronger if you lean on each other.

  31. Sharon

    There is a poem by Mary Oliver titled “In Blackwater Woods” that has come to mind more than once when I think of you. The poem ends with, “To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” Those words have brought me comfort. I share them with you because I have no better wisdom to share. You and your family have a special place in my thoughts and prayers ~

  32. Golden

    Oh, the yuck of loss is so intense. And yes, I too seemed to miss where Chickadee is going. You and your family are in my heart. Are you up here in MA? I remember she was here in a Boston hospital at some point. The day is teary with you.

  33. Megan

    Otto – that was beautiful.

    I’m so glad that the family is there laughing and being true to themselves and eachother. THAT’S how you don’t drown.

  34. Melissa

    “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!” Dolly definitely said it better than I ever could’ve but she’s right. Hugs to you and your whole family.

  35. elizabeth

    Otto’s comment is … perfect. So sorry for your loss.

    I get the water ballet description. I lost my mom last year and that week was just like that. But, like Otto said, you’re not alone. Sounds like you’ve got people. Everyone is keeping everyone else afloat. Hugs and inappropriate humor work wonders.

  36. Katie in MA

    Drowning in alcohol and appropriately inappropriate humor is absolutely, positively the best way to drown. We’ll throw out some life-preservers, just in cases.

    Hang in there, kiddo.

  37. ruchi

    So sorry for your loss. My heart aches for all of you. But Otto’s comment is perfect. He’s clearly a keeper.

  38. Christine H.

    I’m so sorry for your and Otto’s loss. Thanks for taking the time to write the post in the midst of sadness and chaos. As I read it, I felt myself gulping for air with you… for you. I love Otto’s comment. Please take care of yourself in whatever way you can. Thinking of you lots.

  39. Andrea

    Wow…”This is how I know we are in Serious Times. I pay full price and it doesn’t matter.” Lean on your wonderful guy and your entire clan during this all. Hugs to you, Mir!

  40. jennyA

    More hugs.

  41. Kate

    Robyn Anderson (at bitchypoo dot com) used to bellow (well, text-bellow) SKIMMERS when she got questions/comments she had already answered so now I will bellow SKIMMERS at some of you. Mir first talked about Chickadee moving in with her dad here: https://wouldashoulda.com/2012/09/24/and-so-here-we-are/#more-7269.

  42. allysha

    I’m glad you have Otto and that Otto has you. Hang in there.

  43. Andrea

    So many prayers for you all. Wish I could say something helpful, but all I’ve got is: stick with that Otto. You are definitely, definitely not alone.

  44. Rachel

    Hugs to all of you, this post brought tears to my eyes.

  45. Kathryn

    I’m so sorry for all of you, Mir. I have no idea if it helps at all, but just know that so many people all over the continent are thinking of you, praying for you and hoping for the best for all of you.

  46. Jenn

    Love to you and Otto and Monkey and Chickie.

    Luckily being a part of a family means you don’t have to swim alone and that sometimes, you swim for everyone and other times they swim for you.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Dirty jokes and booze are the coping mechanisms of my family too and I’ve had way too much practice at how to navigate a funeral. You will get through it together.

  47. Melissa

    I am so sorry…hang on.

  48. Ruth

    More hugs from over here. xoxo

  49. Nancy

    Here’s to alcohol, inappropriate humor, and husbands like Otto.


  50. Tracy B

    Difficult times always makes the wine taste a little sweeter. I can not imagine what all is going on in your mind, Mir but I know that you’ll come out the other side an even more amazing woman, mother and wife. Just keep swimming—and Otto, I am truly sorry for your mother’s passing. I lost my momma 5 years ago and I’d like to say it gets easier but honestly, all I can say is that some days are better than others. {{{{hugs to all}}}}

  51. abbeyviolet

    Otto’s comment, and Otto rocks – you make it.

  52. Mom

    Otto is a flawlessly polished, priceless gem. You two are a perfect pair.

    Love to you all.

  53. TC

    Otto’s right. But you knew that, because Otto’s pretty much always right. Still, I know the water feeling, and it’s hard, and I’m not trying to deny that. Hugs…

  54. Carolyn

    I’m so sorry. Otto’s right, you’re not alone. Here’s praying for waters that smooth out around the bend…

  55. Jen

    I shake my head in awe at your strength and curse the universe for the reasons. Many hugs to you and Otto.

  56. StephLove

    I am crying for you all now, but Otto’s comment is wise.

    I attended my first funeral at the age of 42. It was my Dad’s. It might have been nice to have worked up to that one.

  57. Lara

    Aw Mir. I know that drowning feeling all too well. Thankfully my mood has improved, possibly because we are on a short waiting list for the services we need … Just remember what Otto said and make sure you can hang in there or go get help. Because you are not alone. Hoping life gets easier for you all soon. And condolences to Otto, you and your family. Hugs.

  58. Dawn

    If we have to, all of us across the interwebs will hold hands and make a human chain to keep you afloat. You and Otto are both positively amazing. Every time you post I am in awe of your strength and grace. Love and hugs to you all.

  59. Cheryl

    At my grandmother’s funeral, my mother demanded I not bring alcohol as it was “unseemly”. Fast forward about 2 hours into it and my mother edges up and says “where did you hide the liquor?” I told her for once I listened to her and didn’t bring any. She handed me a $100 and said “find the nearest liquor store, this family is nuts”. Liquor usually helps in these situations.

  60. Fairly Odd Mother

    I love Otto’s comment. Much love to you and your family.

  61. Navhelowife

    I know that wall of water that you are describing. I’m so sorry you’re having to be in that place now, but I’m so thankful you have such love in your life to help keep you afloat.

  62. Leah

    Would love to give you a hug. I will continue to pray for you and your family. That’s the only thing I know how to do when the crap is hitting the proverbial fan.

  63. Kristine N

    Giant tears streaming down my cheeks… Hugs for you and Otto right now.

  64. Redneck Mommy

    I’m so sorry for you loss. For all your losses. I hope the universe lets some sunshine into your skies sometime soon. Hang tough. It will get better. I swear it.

  65. Kate in Michigan

    Wow. I’m so sorry for your loss -=- all of them.

    And your post was so poignant, but I didn’t really feel tears prickle my eyes until I read Otto’s comment.

  66. Tarrant

    Awww hells bells. I didn’t stop to remember the Chickadee hole and the “people who don’t know” awkwardness. Loathe that.

    Lots of love and prayers that warm memories of your MIL bring you ALL comfort in the days ahead. (and warm Chickadee memories help with the transition and really suck days with her farther away)

  67. Jeanie

    I’m sorry you have to go through all of this. It’s a sad time, for sure. I share your feelings about creepiness of seeing someone in their casket. I made sure my mom’s funeral was closed-casket, just for that reason. It’s ridiculous to say at my (old) age, but dead people scare me. I hope the rest of the year goes smoothly for you. Prayers and hugs to you and your family.

  68. Mariya

    This quote from Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies always makes me feel better when I’m drowning:
    “It turned out this man worked for the Dalai Lama. And she said gently-that they believe when a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born-and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.”

    Thinking of you.

  69. Mama Bub

    I’m just so in awe of your family. Much love to you all.

  70. Sherri

    Otto is a smart man! I’m so sorry about your loss. You’re MIL is with you… all of you… and she is there to comfort you. And she is watching over chickadee.

  71. Kelly

    Much Love to your family, and many hugs to go around. I have been in a wall of water now for almost a year. My mom passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 19th last year, and my dad had been in the nursing home recovering from a surgery for almost 3 months at that time. I was the one who had to handle everything, and everyone. He got out of the nursing home at the end of April, and I kept coming back home every weekend from 150 miles away to help him get stuff done. He passed away unexpectedly on July 28th. It has truly been the year from hell. My doctor thinks I should stay on the Prozac for the foreseeable future, and I quite agree. God Bless you all.

  72. kapgaf

    Otto says no one is drowning but I’m throwing paddles and lifebelts (although it’s more likely that this will speed any drowning due to my awesome throwing skillz).
    All this and you’re giving your children what they need (full price shoes, a plane ticket….) because that’s what you do. You’re doing good.

  73. Mandy

    Love to you all. Once again, your last sentence got me. And then Otto got me again. I wish I knew you in RL because all I see from here is awesomeness and a strength I cannot begin to fathom.

  74. Rocky Mountain Woman

    Oh Sweetie, hugs to you and Otto and Monkey and Chickie….

    I’m sad for you and worried about you…



  75. brigitte

    Alcohol and inapprpriate humor are wonderful things. Keep them on hand when packing Chickie up and saying goodbye to her. To the logical mind, Chickie is of course perfectly alive and hopefully making a new start, but so soon after the loss of your MIL, your soul may perceive it as another devastating loss. Here’s some pre-emptive (((hugs))).

  76. Melinda

    Sending you all my deepest sympathies. My mom just died a month ago and I know that walking through water feeling you speak of all too well. I found the funeral ritual very comforting. I have a new appreciation for sympathy cards and will no longer hesitate to send one with a story about how my life was changed by the person who passed. I clung to those stories dearly. With a tear soaked kleenex. The inappropriate humor and the well timed stiff drink most certainly helped. A friend told me this and I found it profoundly comforting: “Love transcends the physical.” Otto’s mom will be with you. And your love will be with Chickie as she navigates her new space. I am sorry she isn’t be with you now. (And 2012 can most definitely suck it.) Thinking of you all at this profoundly difficult time.

  77. Katherine

    It’s good to hear that alcohol and jokes (inappropriate or not) and laughter are acceptable, because otherwise coping is so much more difficult. Here’s to many stories and memories being shared.

    Unfortunately my kids (just a bit older than yours) have already been to far too many funerals. The ones where they didn’t really know the deceased are easier, but still too many.

    I hope that Chickie can make a good fresh start with her dad and that once she gets her feet back under herself firmly that perhaps she will be ready to come back to live with you before too long.

  78. c

    breathe, there IS air. The muffling you feel is a mercy. Thank you for writing, peace to you and yours

  79. KarenP

    So glad you have Otto and he has you. My Mother died in 1989 when I was 35. My eight year old son insisted on going to the viewing so he could say goodbye to his Grammy. My older son (11) did not want to go but saw her at the funeral when they opened the casket for my older nephew. Don’t think I could have handled a wake. Even though Chicky isn’t coming home to you I am so happy she is able to be discharged.

  80. N

    So sorry Mir. Brutal to lose parents. Stay strong. So glad Chickadee is getting out and I hope you all of your collective wounds heal quickly. Glad you have Monkey and Otto to keep close during this difficult time.

  81. Kim

    Oh Otto, you rock. Mir, hugs to you and yours. I’m so sorry that Chickie can’t be with her family right now.
    That water feeling is pretty standard with grief, I think, but you have a double whammy going on. I can’t imagine how hard it must be, preparing for Chickie to move away. My standard advice for people grieving is to be gentle with yourselves – it hurts in ways we cannot see. And so I say this to you, too. Be gentle with yourself. Serious Times, indeed.

  82. Mary K. in Rockport

    Oh, God….

  83. Margaret

    Hugs. And more hugs. And please let me know if there is anything I can do. I mean that…anything at all.

    Hugs to Otto as well. He is a smart man.

  84. Kate

    Otto – keeper! ‘Nuf said!

    On a lighter note, at my sainted grandpa’s viewing I was expecting g tears and sadness. What I got was the most delightful laughter. I cry today at the sweetness of the hilarity! Not meaning to be funny, my dear grandma walked to the casket, looked down at her husband and said: Oh Charley. That’s the only haircut he ever had to pay for!
    That just set the tone and the joy went on from there. The funeral home director had to come back to make sure we were okay … And probably to be sure we weren’t posing the body or something!
    Praying for you as you work your way through these rapids. I would gladly give you my paddle if I could. Gladly!!

  85. EmmaC

    Thinking of you and your family. Holding you in my thoughts and in my internet-extendable arms for a giant bear hug.

  86. J from Ireland

    Love love love Otto, perfect just perfect.
    Oh Mir you are well overdue some happiness, may it hurry the fuck up xx

  87. Varda (SquashedMom)

    A thousand hugs, babe. Just thousands upon thousands of hugs.

  88. Kailani

    Otto is right…You are not alone! When you don’t think you can swim another stroke, tread water. When all else fails, float. You might choke on some water, but you are not alone and
    will never drown! Again, my sincere sympathies to all of you for your loss.

  89. Maria

    Just so many different emotions in this post. I’ll be thinking about and praying for you in these weeks ahead. I really admire your strength.

  90. Michele

    You know Mir that was just beautiful. How you can write to make me feel your heart when everything is wrong always makes me wish I was blessed with the ability to write like you. Take care.

  91. Liza

    Big hugs to you. And the whole family. Also, Otto wins for knowing what to say. I’m really glad you have each other.

  92. teachergirl

    please, please, someday, write a book. you have so much to give–not right now to anyone other than your family–and i see so clearly how you could be a lifeline to so many.

  93. dixiechick

    Damn, Mir, it just doesn’t get any easier, does it? Having survived an episode with one of my kids that was very similar to Chickie’s (although I was Otto in that case, a female Otto, and probably far less calm and imperturbable), I can’t imagine how beat down you have got to feel. Otto is right though – you are not alone, even though you might feel as though are. Heck, I’m in Georgia, you’re in Georgia, and even though I don’t think we live remotely close to each other, every time I see women who could be you (with sons, or curly hair, or Licorice-like dogs, or who look like they love to write or crack inappropriate jokes), I go out of my way to be nice, because, hey it might be you, and you really need some super-nice people around you right now (and even though I know it’s not you, I figure everyone does at some point, so heck, why not). So yeah. Creepy story, but I hope you get the point: you’re not on your own:)

  94. Rachel

    Oh, Mir. I’ve been thinking of you & your family/Otto’s family. I’m so sorry for your losses, it sucks. You’ve been in my prayers, and I’m keeping you there.
    I totally get the underwater ballet. In Serious Time I feel like I’m in a fog, and I don’t understand how the world is going as if nothing happened, when I think it should be paused.
    My kids went to 6 funerals in 2 years (plus 1 more funeral a year later – we’re now almost at the one year mark for no funerals). They did a great job, and wanted to go (I did give them the choice not to attend), but each one was hard. In a way I’m glad they’ve been to so many different funerals (they have experience to draw on as they get older), but I’d prefer not to be grieving again for another few decades.

  95. Grace

    What everone else said. Especially Otto. Hang on to Otto.

  96. Peggy Fry

    That underwater feeling is a lovely thing called shock. It is your friend and makes the going just that tiny bit easier while things are so hard. Blessings on Otto’s mom for building such a fine family. Humor is our family tool as well and brings out the sweetness in the bitter time. Love does transcend everything–It’s the only thing that does. That is my firm belief after too many losses to count. Chickie will come back to you when it is time.

    I don’t (really) know you guys, but you are in my thoughts.

  97. CJ

    Just remember that you need to get only a tiny bit above the surface every once in awhile to get some air to sustain you.

    It may be awhile before you’re back to synchronized swimming, but you will get there.

    Many hugs.

  98. LizD

    Many hugs to all. Otto = awesome. I am so impressed by Otto’s comment and so glad that you have each other.

    Btw, I was ~ 50 when I attended my first funeral; that of my grandmother. 7 years later, just two more funerals. Dad and little Brother this year.


  99. dad

    That husband of yours is brilliant…and nice too.

    Keep swimming.
    “At the end of the storm is a golden sky.”

  100. Susie

    Oh, so very many hugs.

  101. Jean

    I’m so sorry…for everything. Hugs and prayers from a stranger but they are given with the utmost sincerity.

  102. Karen

    Oh dear Mir, I just want to wrap you up in a blanket and hug you all night in a motherly way.

  103. EG

    Cheers to alcohol and inappropriate humor! Sorry about the other crap.

  104. Emily

    I pray you don’t have to tread water for much longer, and that others will come alongside you to bring you to shore.

  105. barbara

    oh god girlie….i’m just so sorry, for every bit of it.

  106. Chris

    I am so sorry for you and Otto. Keep swimming….

  107. Elizabeth

    I am sorry for your losses. Doesn’t begin to express, but….I’m not the gifted writer. Grateful you have your husband. A good man is worth far more than rubies.

  108. Lulu

    Oh, Mir, it’s so bloody hard to lose a parent or a parent-in-law! Coming, as it has, on top of all the other crap you’ve had to deal with, I’m amazed you are upright & speaking/writing complete sentences. I truly admire your strength (as horrible as it is to have to need it and build it up) and grace (even if you don’t feel graceful, you are!).

    Condolences, dear.

  109. Kristen

    Thoughts are with you all as you navigate your underwater ballet. I think ballet is difficult and incredibly gorgeous, ….and I bet your crew will bring a synchronized-swimming element of humor and resilience to this new and painfully beautiful underwater version.

  110. Sharon

    my family was “brought up” southern bible belt methodist, so funerals were pretty somber.
    later in life i attended celebrations of life and wakes, which so resonated.
    tell funny tender stories about the person – soooo much more true to their lives. much better memories of laughing and hugging.
    a proper irish wake helps that along.
    folks don’t have to drink, but if somebody is, and starts telling the funny tender stories, pretty soon you have laughter and smiles to remember your loved one with rather than pretentious hymns.
    and, all of you are remembering the life, together and not alone, as otto said.
    sometime, do a memory with chickie. she couldn’t be there at the time, but sometime, give her the time to remember a funny tender time and light a candle or eat a cookie together to celebrate her memories of otto’s mom, too.

  111. Michelle

    We buried my father in law yesterday. He was a 3 star General in the Marine Corps, it was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had. A tremendous amount of respect, a whole lot of stories of bravery and heroism, and reflection on what a tough man he was but such a tender husband, father, and grandfather. Otto’s mom sounds like she was made from some of the same good stuff. My deepest sympathies to you both. You guys are going to have some big holes in your life but I am certain that the love you have for each other will fill them and I’ve got my fingers crossed and prayers said that there is going to be some kind of amazing silver lining in all the pot shots life has taken at you over the last 2 years.

  112. NTE

    Oh boy ~ I keep thinking I have breathed enough to come back and read certain tough posts, and I am, without fail, wrong. Oh well. I really want to send hugs to you and your family, and to say how much I appreciate you writing about this ridiculously difficult time. I have been in ‘curl up in a ball’ mode, for a bit to long here, but (believe it or not) knowing that other people are out there getting through their tough days (even if only by the skin of their teeth) is immensely helpful. Thinking of you, and your family. Hugs.

  113. Rhonda

    Hanging in there with you, Mir. I just lost my mom a month ago. Perfect the way you describe the wall of water..I feel like I am trying to get thru that. We had lots of laughter at her funeral, especially when I almost knocked her casket off the stand….lots of tears there, and still. But, as Otto, said like you all, I am also not alone. I still have my Dad and my whole family as do you. All I can say is, I’m sorry.


  114. Jenni C.

    We love you, Mir!

  115. Sue

    Ugh, I’m crying too hard to read the other comments, so thanks for that.

    You are amazing. All of you.

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