Seven days ago this morning we buried my grandmother. The last week has drained me, both physically and emotionally. I'm grateful to my handful of loyal readers, both for their expressions of emotional support, and for continuing to make me feel validated in my blogging.
Wednesday the 5th sucked. There's nothing else for it but to face the ginormous levels of suckiness it exuded. Between the lack of sleep, the emotional drain of my grandmother's death, and the pressure to get everything done and get up to Portland in time to fly out, I was off my game all day, and managed to alienate a fellow blogger I once held in high regard. I shouldn't have even been reading blogs on a day like that. Then, after a stressful time finishing the packing and getting up to Portland, we flew out at 9:something PM and arrived in San Diego at 11:45 PM. By the time we reached my grandma's house in Chula Vista, talked to my mom, and got to bed, it was 2 AM. The Lad woke me up at 5:45, and I was up pretty much for the rest of the day, except for a short nap around 2 or so. I guess that means the suckage seeped into Thursday, huh?
The funeral was... I really can't think of a single adjective that fits. I guess it was what a funeral should be -- happy and sad, with the tears only interrupted by laughter as we remembered my grandmother for the amazing woman she was, and mourned our own loss. We know she's in Heaven and her suffering here is over, but we miss her presence. She was, as was said at the funeral, the glue that held our family together.
Margaret Dittenhaver (nee Bohnstehn) was a direct descendant of Daniel Boone. One of 11 children, she was born in Oklahoma, grew up in Arkansas, and came west to California during the Dust Bowl. She was never ashamed of her roots, though she made it clear she considered herself an Arkie, not an Okie. All of the children gave up school to work and help the family survive. One sister lost the use of her left hand in a dry cleaning press.
There was one bit of irony in the funeral. Only one of my grandmother's sisters, and subsequently her only daughter, was ever embarassed of where our family came from. That niece, now a minister, delivered the eulogy, and referred to my grandma as a "Southern Belle". It rankled me, and when I stood to share, at one point I found myself blurtingh out, "She was a Dust Bowl Okie!" OK, she'd have said Arkie, but after the funeral, numerous family members thanked me for adding that.
My grandmother left behind 5 daughters, 12 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren. All of those grandchildren remember her as a loving, nay doting, grandmother, who would do anyhting for her grandkids. And despite the fact that we live far apart and have very different beliefs and lifestyles, we are all close and love each other, in large part thanks to my grandma.
My grandma died on Sunday Night. Earlier in the day, her dog had to be put down. She was sixteen. Two days after my grandmother died, her brother died. Of those 11 kids, only one is living, and he's not long for this world. We're losing a generation, and I for one will miss them.
After the funeral, we all went over to the house of one of my aunts, just a few doors down from my grandma's (and actually, the house where my grandma lived when I was growing up. Long story) and had lunch. The mood there was significantly lighter -- plenty of reminiscence about growing up with "Marg" as a grandma, and all of our memories. I learned that the cousin I most envied for her lifestyle as a kid, envied me for mine. It was really good to be around family -- I grew up, and still live, thousands of miles from the rest of the family. I need to make sure that The Lad gets plenty of chances to visit his family. Family is important.
The rest of the visit was busy with visits to old friends, and spending time with my mom. We also took a trip to Fort Rosecrans National to visit my dad's grave, it was the closest The Lad will ever come to meeting his grandfather.
I do miss some things about San Diego -- the weather was gorgeous. But I don't miss the traffic, or the sales tax.
We arrived in Portland This past Monday at 11:15, and instead of spending the night at the SIL's, drove straight home. I took the last two of my permitted paid bereavment days to rest.
I'm still not sure I'm ready to get back into the swing of blogging. Hell, I'm not ready to get back to work and all of the drudgery of life. Despite the sadness of our reason for going, this was a mini-vacation, and it felt good to get away. But here I am.