Blogging Like I've Never Blogged Before

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Yesterday I was at a funeral for my aunt (my mom's cousin, so not technically my aunt, but you know, she was my aunt, understand?). She died completely unexpectedly on New Year's Eve morning. She was 62-years-old.

I'm not a good consoler. Never have been. When my grandfather died, I spoke about how there needs to be something else mourners can say to someone other than "I'm sorry." When I saw my uncle and my cousins, all I could really say was that. I'm sorry. And this was probably the first time I actually meant it. It's not just the usual, almost casual and routine, "Hey, sorry about your ______." This was a "My God, I am so sorry, my heart hurts" kind of sorry.

I couldn't think of anything else to say. There is always the "If there's anything I can do..." but who really ever follows up with that? I know I'm not going to get a call from my cousins in the next couple of days asking, "Hey, if you aren't busy, could you come over and make me a tuna fish sandwich? And my room is kind of a mess, so if you could bring a vacuum and maybe some rubber gloves, that'd be awesome."

At the wake, I'd look at my uncle or one of my cousins and they'd be talking to someone, laughing about something, seeming completely normal. Two minutes later, you'd look back and see them staring at nothing, completely lost. You could punch them in the face and they wouldn't blink.

I was at my uncle's house in between the viewings, and I'd look around and see all the Christmas decorations and the gifts and all of my aunt's stuff and I can't imagine what it was like for him to go home after the funeral, after everyone is gone, and just see all of that. I think they've been together since they were 14 and married for 43 years. I once lost a hat that I really liked that I had for two years, and that almost made me want to cry. A hat.

My aunt hated being around smokers. She had a magnet on her fridge that said, "If you are smoking in my house, you'd better be on fire." I always found that funny, although never really understood her scorn until recently. Last week when I was in New Jersey, where you are still allowed to smoke in bars, I was telling someone how I was turning into my Aunt Maryanne. When I see people in bars walk by me with a cigarette, I want to slap it out of their mouth and give them a lecture on how rude it is to make my clothes smell like shit and clog up my lungs. Maybe I'll start doing that from now on. I don't think my aunt ever did that, but perhaps she'll look down on me and feel a little pride.

Hmph. So that was my last couple of days. All that and a lot of great family gossip. Some of the stuff in my family is worthy of Page Six.

And on a lighter note, I won my fantasy football league and someone got to my blog by searching "is tony danza a smoker". Oh great Internet, what did we do before you? If I do find out that Tony Danza is a smoker, I am going to write him one scathing letter.
All material © Mike Toole; 2003 - 2006