Here I am, almost a week later, and I’m still struggling to come back. In my three decades on this rock, I just attended my first funeral. And while I (for the most part) was able to keep my head in the game while in the area, being back at home has been a daily struggle.
First, comes being unable to distinguish whether or not this is merely part of my own personal grieving process, or if it’s depression. I’m finding myself unable to function; luckily, work is slow because of the holidays, but the few assignments I do still have, I can’t seem to find the energy to take care of. I’m staying tired and lethargic, and I just can’t find a way to care about anything. I’ve had a shirt on the table that I need to return, and that was days ago. It’s still there.
Then comes wanting to cry while cooking breakfast. And maybe that’s because I only teared up a little last week and my body needs that outlet, and maybe it’s just me. And when you couple this with my lack of Christmas cheer, I feel all the more like a downer.
I find myself just wanting to sleep all day, which is classic textbook depression symptoms. But I don’t necessarily *feel* depressed, which is odd for me; usually, I can pick up that I’m having a tough day almost immediately. I’ll go “man what’s your damage today? Ohhhhh.”
The week was harder than I thought, and even more than I let on. I try explaining it, but even my own family merely brushes it off as me just being tired from almost a week of traveling. And I’m sure that is part of it, but there’s more at work here.
The people attending the wake and the funeral are Georgia native types, strong, tough, survivalists. And after seeing each and everyone break down, after seeing my mother, one of the strongest people I know completely crumble, it’s hard remaining strong.
I’ve never seen a body in person before. And being that I’m this age and wasn’t properly prepared for the services, I had the additional stress and panic of not acting correctly. For instance, I had no idea how long being at the casket was “appropriate”. I didn’t want to just Clark Griswold it; I wanted to be respectful. This man is, after all, the closest thing my mother had to a father.
The funeral especially was tough. The backwoods southern Baptist pastor decided that rather than give his dearly departed friend a personalized message that the same tried-and-true one that he’s used for decades, one that was a recruitment tool for the church, would suffice. It didn’t.
It was an especially cold, gloomy day. We all became chilled to the bone, and there was no official ending. They never lowered it into the grave like they do in the movies, and we were all left to simply look from it to each other and shrug.
A week of keeping it together, of impatient family members wanting to just skate through as fast as possible, avoiding the ensuing drama. It was hard. And it still is, and I’m left wondering how much longer do I feel like this? Does it get better, and what am I going to do when it’s someone closer to me that passes?