I am not sure that anyone is ever prepared to mourn. No matter how much you know it is coming, it still hurts. I knew my grandmother was ill and didn't have much time left, yet it still came as a shock when she died. It was harder on me than I expected.
Things were not helped by how upset my mother was. I am a very empathetic person and seeing my mother in that much pain just eats me up inside. She would cry and I would cry, she would get angry and I would get angry. It was emotionally exhausting.
It also didn't help that we had to go through two funerals for my grandmother. The first was held in San Antonio where she lived and the second held in Woodville where she was from and our family cemetery is. It made sense but it was really hard on all of us to have to go through that twice.
I did get up and speak at the service in San Antonio. It was hard. Really really hard. I clutched my hand written notes which did me little good. I could barely make out the words on the page between the tears in my eyes, the smudged ink from where my tears soaked the paper, and how badly my hands were shaking. What I said came from the heart and I was told it was lovely.
The entire first set of services seemed a little surreal. Part of that came from still being in a state of shock, but the other came from the fact that the majority of the people there only knew my grandmother through my aunt. In the end it was more like all of my aunts friends were there, and not many people for my grandmother.
Also none of these people had any idea who my part of the family was. I stood to the side with my siblings and their spouses and we watched as people poured out their condolences to my aunt and her husband and children, and then watch these people shuffle past us giving us strange sideways glances as though they were wondering who we were. I was introduced as her granddaughter when I spoke, they all knew who I was.
The ones that did stop to speak to us only gave half hearted condolences sounding like they were only speaking out of obligation. They also kept mistaking the husbeast for my brother. That was more than a little awkward. It got to the point that when someone would approach him he would stop them and say "Husband not brother" and then point to my brother who was on the other side of me.
Oh did I mention we were also shunted back during the service. My aunt, her husband, her children, and her sister in law took up the front row. My siblings and I took the second row while my mother and father were in the third row. Mom wanted all of us kids to sit together which is the only reason she wasn't in the second row. This also meant that mom was sort of pushed out of the receiving line as much as we were.
In the end most everyone there was there to support my aunt so I guess it doesn't matter. The people who knew us made sure to make their way to us to give sincere condolences.
The second service was different. This one was for the family who mostly live out in East Texas. My aunt has never been good at keeping in touch with this part of the family since she feels they are beneath her. My mom on the other hand has talked to them for years. This time around my aunt and her kids were the ones standing in a corner feeling awkward.
After the second wake we went back to the hotel and proceeded to get really really drunk. Normally we would have played poker as well, but there wasn't a large enough space to accommodate all of us. We stuck to gossip and white russians instead.
I don't suggest going to a graveside service hung over. It was foggy and cold and we ended up having to stand around for longer than expected as we waited for a few people who got lost going through the back roads to the tiny cemetery. It was not a pleasant experience. Crying with a hangover is dumb.
So in the end we had two wakes and two services in four days. We drove over 15 hours and never left the state of Texas. There were feelings hurt and tension galore but amazingly no one came to blows. I am glad it is all over now.