I opened my eyes and thankfully she was not there….anymore, but I knew she had been.  That day my family and I went to the funeral home to make the arrangements.  We have all always been very active in church.  I’m not sure I actually believe everything the catholic church preaches, but I do believe in there being something bigger than myself and I have always felt better when at church.  My mother explained to the funeral home that we would not like to do a wake, but would rather the church open up an hour before the ceremony and we would take visitors then.  The funeral director tried to explain to us that “The church doesn’t do that” and then my mother, my father and I all took out our cell phones and each of us had a different priest, monsignor or church officiate on our speed dial and offered to call the church ourselves to set it up.  If there’s anything I’ve learned about my mother, she does not accept the word NO.  So, the funeral director called and of course the church would be more than happy to open for us an hour prior to the ceremony.  See.  The next morning as I sat in my living room and the girls stayed home from school, there was a knock at the door.  It was early and I couldn’t imagine who would be knocking and would have to see me in my pajamas with hair in a bun and glasses on.  It was dreads.  He showed up with coffee and breakfast for me and the kids.  Kids of which he had never met.  “How did you know where I lived?”  Why does everyone know where I live!  He said he asked one of the girls at work and thought that we may all be down after he heard of my grandmother and stopped in for a quick second to drop off coffee and check on us all.  It was very sweet of him and I appreciated it.  It was a long day that day, but it was the day before the funeral so at least we had one day to compose ourselves.  Death is very surreal to me.  I believe in ghosts, spirits and an afterlife, but what I can’t wrap my head around is not existing anymore in the form I am right now.  Like there have been many years of me….then there’s just no more me. It is a very scary feeling for me to see just blankly into a space where I do not exist.  Who knows, maybe I will and just don’t know it yet.  I like to believe that if I were to stay connected to this earth in some way that there would be a few people on my “Scare to Death” list.  The next morning was the funeral and the church opened as it said it would and we all arrived dressed in somber colors with heads held high as we celebrated her life, not her death.  My family and friends showed up for comfort and support and it does warm my heart when I see people rallying around me in my time of need.  Although I was beginning to feel like all the time was my time in need.  Dreads showed. He hugged me, introduced himself to my family and sat quietly in the back and when I turned around to glance through the audience I realized he was gone.  Saying goodbye to great grandma that day was hard.  It was harder to watch my children have to do it.  My daughters considered great grandma their best friend.  Someone they could depend on, rely on, who was always there for them, who’s presence offered safety and security and that although things change, they remained the same.  She was the matriarch of our family.  And now, she was gone, but she would always live on in each of us.  Many nights after that I dreamt of her.  She came and told me to watch out for my daughter, she came and told me to take care of my mother, she came and told me to find a ‘nice Italian boy”  I could  only do so much, so the Italian boy would have to wait and the first thing I would focus on would be to watch out for my daughters.  A job that would soon be so consuming I would lose myself in it.

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