This morning instead of finishing my long run wrapped in the warmth of an epsom salt bath, I’m pulling on my funeral black dress.
Every girl should have a LBD (that’s little black dress for you gents), but at some point the parties slowed down and this one became the funeral black dress. I’ve tried to wear it other places, but death leaves a mark. Not the white stripe of deodorant that you spend hours rubbing with a white sock to remove, thank you life hack, it’s something less noticeable…but there.
It’s not sadness that comes with the dress, I’m fortunate to have lost very few people “too early” or in tragic ways. Death is never easy, but knowing that my sadness is for my own selfish reasons of wanting more time and not that they needed more makes it easier.
The thing is death is really a message for the living, right?
It’s a not so gentle nudge to get your priorities straight and a moment to envision whether you’ll have a Scrooge or a Joan Rivers turn out someday.
It’s a reminder that life is both short and long. Those things you always planned to do you might not get the chance or you might spend years looking back and wondering why you didn’t.
It’s a gift that pushes you towards embracing those you love because suddenly you’re aware of your age and mortality.
If going to a wedding is a reminder of a bright new future and a baby shower is the celebration of a new chapter, funerals seem to be the reminder life is fleeting and we need to embrace each moment.
Since today is about celebrating the life of Anna Mae Brooks it will be fun to hear stories from others about how they knew her! I apologize for the lack of photos…maybe someday…but for now words are my healing and that’s enough for me.
Obviously to my father she was mom…she was the safe place to fall and the never ending cheerleader that he has become for me.
She was a friend who spent hours chatting on the phone.
She was a second mom to my cousins when their father (her son) died nearly 20 years ago.
She was a wife for nearly 60 years to my grandfather. They owned a farm, they owned businesses, they raised a family and the cared deeply for each other which became all the more visible after she had a stroke in 2003.
For me, she was grandma and I think she embodied exactly what you’d hope for in a grandma! She was hugs and kisses. She was a weeklong getaway in the summer. She was the giver of socks and underwear at Christmas.
I found my first big girl bike with the banana seat and streamers on the handles sitting in her sunroom. As a kid I assumed it appeared by magic, but more likely Dad put it together and let me find it there so Grandma and Grandpa could enjoy the fun.
Every holiday, we’d pile the car with presents and make the drive to grandma’s so that we could gather around their lighted Santa for some fun (yup, no Christmas tree needed…I want that Santa). She’d have made all the best homemade food and grandpa would then spoil me with a long john donut for breakfast (everyone loved my chubby cheeks I think).
In the winter, we spent many hours watching movies because well my family (Dad and grandpa) owned a movie store! This sounds so weird now, but as a kid this was like owning HBO! We actually got the VHS before it even went to the store….what?!
In the summer, I’d spend a week with my grandparents. Sleeping on the floor between their twin beds, which I still ponder at, and the afternoons we’d head to their golf club. On very special days, I was allowed to drive the golf cart, which could only mean she had a death wish!
It’s funny the things you remember, right? The outfits they wore. Their hair style (she was a perm girl for the 35 years I knew her!). Their laugh, their eyes, their smell.
Thanks to everyone who has already reached out. It’s sad to say good bye, but for her we know it was time and we’re happy to let her go be with grandpa, which is why I can write this today…there will come a day when my heart is shattered from a loss I can’t bear to even name and then I’ll need this post as a reminder.
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