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Dealing with Death...

My wife's mother passed away 4 years ago. Incredible woman. We had many a great debate and didnt agree on alot of things but remained wonderful friends throughout.

This weekend we spent sometime cleaning out some of the things from the house she lived in with her husband (who we are still very close with and will always be a relished member of our family).

(I got to take a sledgehammer to a hide-a-bed instead of trying to carry it up the stairs in one piece. Marylin would have appreciated my logic in destroying it for ease of moving it!) (pic of me actually missing the couch with sledge)

The house cleaning made me think back to the day Marylin died and the attitude of my wife and her family that day... They were freaking nuts!

Honestly they went almost directly into happy memories of their time with this woman and less than an hour after she passed they were cracking jokes about the silly things she did and her incredibly unique way of living life and her eccentric (to say the least) sense of style.

At first I thought after 15 years of dating/marriage it was finally coming out that I had got myself hooked up with some insane bunch of loonies, but as the conversations went on and the great stories were shared through the tears, I realized this was how it should be. I started to see the happiness that they felt from their time with her was just kicking the crap out of the grief they were feeling from the loss. It also donned on me that it wasn't all them, it wasn't just them making a conscious decision to place more emphasis on the good memories than the feeling of loss, it was her. (Between you and me... she woulda kicked our asses if we had all sat around and moped!)

She raised those girls to live , and lived in her life in way that seized every moment and she was happy no matter what kinda crap hand she got dealt at times. She honestly lived life. Because of that, when her time here came to an end, it was no kidding easy for her loved ones to be overwhelmed with great memories of her and have their thoughts consumed with that instead of being completely destroyed by the loss. The loss and sadness were there, no doubt, the world is less of a place without Marylin, but her Life simply wouldn't let us focus completely on mourning.

I am not trying to tell you how to grieve, everyone has thier own ways and none of them are wrong.

I am just wondering if you (and me) are living life in a manner that will make our loved ones have overwhelming good thoughts about the lives we led when we are gone?


  1. Your post reminds me of the day my mother died. She knew she was dying and we had conversations about what she wanted...a party. We didn't do a party right away but like your wife's family we sat around that night and told funny stories. My mother wanted my sister who is a graphic artist to make chinese food containers and have her ashes distributed among the kids and my dad. We decided against that. But a few months later we did have a party celebrating her life. It was wonderful. My dad wants the same thing, a small memorial service right after he dies and then a little later when family and friends have dealt with their grief, a big party. Why not?

    Also, my mother was a QVC shopping addict. When we went through the basement you would not believe the treasures we found. I had house warming presents for friends and Christmas presents. My mother would have been very happy because she loved to give to people.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts about death. I cried a lot and still miss my mother after 5 years but her ashes are in the house and I talk to her every once in a while like I used to.

  2. Thanks Ellen,

    Super comment and stories... Its great to have spent time in your life with people that lived it liked that, isn't it?

  3. Yes it is Cody. The most precious thing to me was being able to talk to my mother about dying. Most people shy away from talking about such things, basically because it is painful. Though my mother and I also joked about things. I am so grateful I had that time with her.

    Now, I live with my Dad who is 82, in good health but we occasionally touch on the topic. We are mortal beings and dying is a part of our lives whether it is a loved one or our own.

    Your post is very poignant.

  4. LOL! You are not the only one who has said we were a little crazy. I think that it might have been different if we had not had time to accept it before it happened. She was a force of nature, thats for sure. I think reminiscing about all the great times eased the raw emotion of the situation a little.

  5. Just a funny story, I too, feel the same way about dieing, I truly hope when I leave this earth that my loved ones cry very little, but smile a great deal about the memories. I had a great mother also (Cody's grandmother) and she knew she was close to death and very comfortable with it and we had talked weekly, daily about it. She was my best friend in many ways and I knew I would miss her but she left so much with me in so many ways, I was pretty comfortable also. She had everything in place, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Do Not Resusitate, etc. well, she collapsed one day and we did take her too the hospital and all they did was put her on oxygen and get her comfortable... well, when she came to, I will never forget, I was the only one in the room with her and she looked at me and said "what happened?" - I told her and she said -"well, that's just crazy... this could go on forever, do not put that d___ oxygen back on me or this will never stop" - I just laughed. She was wonderful and I think of her everyday - she blessed me in many ways but she did not want to be mourned for a lengthy time! I hope to go out like her and remembered as she is!

  6. Karen,

    I agree completely... the memories were in fact a great way to not dwell on the pain. I still contend that the way your Mom lived her life made it easy for the memories to win out that day as well.

    Pam (My Mom),

    Grandma Nanny was another clssic case of what I am talking about here. (actually Grandma Nanny and Marylin woulda been great buddies if you think about) Grandma lived her life in a way that made you now she was at peace and she was a huge part of all of our lives having some peace as well. Again not to take away from how much we miss them, but I really appreciate folks living their lives so I can smile when i think about there time here.

  7. Excellent post, Cody! I cared for both of my grandparents until their death; Papa had alzheimers and Nanny died of colon cancer, just a couple of years apart. I cannot possibly explain the "growing and learning" I did during their last months. I'm sure that was a way God used to prepare me for the terrible loss I would endure of two very special people in my life.

    They both lived their lives giving to and serving others. The lessons they taught me about life, love and unselfish giving are priceless and continue to bless me each day. Although I still grieve and my heart breaks from missing them even after several years, each day I feel their presence as I am faced with decisions to choose between right and wrong.

    I sincerely thank you for this post as it is a reminder for me to give thanks daily not just for my present blessings but for those given to me a long time ago.

    Best wishes, Cody.


  8. Decotta,

    i loved that you enjoyed it. Made me think and rethink some stuff as well.

    thanks for comment!

  9. Great post. A favorite topic of mine. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 A good name is better than a good ointment, And the day of {one's} death is better than the day of one's birth. It is better to go to a house of mourning Than to go to a house of feasting, Because that is the end of every man, And the living takes {it} to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad a heart may be happy. The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.

    So True!

  10. A truly wonderful post!

    My mother passed away two years ago. Being very sudden (massive heart attack), our first reaction was, of course, shock and devastation. Even so, when my two siblings and I were gathered in her living room waiting for the officials to take care of business, we couldn't help but make a joke or two. We got some funny looks from the grief counselor and sheriff's deputy which only made us giggle more knowing how our mommy would appreciate it.

    It was because of our security in her love and having inherited her incredible (if a bit wicked) sense of humor that we were able to break through the tears so quickly with a few moments of levity, knowing she would have done the same if she were there.

  11. Lyss,

    Great comment... made me smile.

    Glad you enjoyed the post.


I love the discussion in the comments.. so... GO FOR IT!

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