Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another funeral

Another funeral...that I won't be attending. This morning my mother asked me if I was going to the funeral of my cousin Yvette's son. I told her no and she said she needed to find someone to take her. Mind you she spent the night in the hospital after being admitted from her emergency room visit. Her post chemo blood work and test came back fine but they kept her to monitor her. I slept in her room until 3am and then snuck out to go home so that I could let out my dogs and crash in my own bed. Her phone call woke me up that morning.
"Are you going to Kenny's funeral?"
"Okay. I have to find someone to take me. I won't keep you. Bye baby."
The hospital wanted to keep her a second day but she said no. She was going to a funeral.
I showered and dressed, prepared to go pick up Mom from the hospital. I put on black pants and a black blouse with a colorful scarf. Then I applied my makeup as if I was going to a funeral. Somehow I was going to end up taking her to a funeral. Somehow I would have to go...I knew it would happen even though no one blamed me or pressured me to go. Somehow I would be going.
As I drove to the hospital to pick up Mom I felt panicky and I kept saying; you will not cry. You will not cry. I can't do this. I can't...My sister called to find out how Mom was doing and I put the phone on speaker and explained about all the hospital antics. My sister asked, "Are you going to Kenny's funeral today?"
"No...I can't."
"I know. It's okay. I talked to Darius," his brother, "and he asked if I knew who was coming. He just worried that no one would be there and that he would be sending his brother off all alone." Of course he would worry about that. Darius is little more than a kid and his brother was all that he had now that Yvette is dead. Tears formed in my eyes as I thought about all the years since Yvette had died of COPD. I remember not believing that I could lose someone that I loved as much as I loved Yvette. I still see her deep cocoa brown skin and large almond shaped eyes, her full lips and I can hear her infectious laughter. I see my little cousin as a kid tagging along after me. I see myself going to her house and playing with her friends. I see her in my mind's eye at 8, 10, 12, 15, 21 and then in a casket looking like someone I'd never seen before.
"I know I should go. But I can't."
"It's okay," she said. "I told him that my mother would be there as long as she wasn't too sick. My son will be going but I won't be there because I'm in Lexington and my sister won't be there because she doesn't do funerals."
Everybody knows; Kim doesn't do funerals. Those are not my words but that is what they know.
After a moment of guilt I said, "But I know why I can't go."
"Because I can't stand seeing people I love crying."
"Ohhhh," she said softly.
But what I didn't say is that I can't stand to see the pain of loss. I can hold back my emotions but I can't NOT feel the emotions of someone that I love. If they cry, then I will cry. And if I cry, I won't stop. There. If I cry I'm afraid that I won't be able to stop.
I missed my uncle RJ's funeral, the funeral of my best friend's triplet brothers, the funeral of my best friend's grandson, the funeral of another friend's son, the funeral of uncles and aunts and the funeral of the man that I intended to spend the rest of my life with.
Because I can't do funerals.
But I wish that I could.


  1. Many others share your coping mechanism. You're not alone in your desire for self preservation. Sorry for the loss of so many loved ones in your life.

    "The display of grief makes more demands than grief itself. How few men are sad in their own company."

  2. Hi Pepper, I had not seen this when I asked after you on Face Book. I totally get you on this. May there be peace and hope for you and all those you love very soon.
    JoAnne aka Ebonywahine


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