A few years ago my father in law died. At lunchtime. In August.
Have you ever tried getting a funeral director quickly in Milano at that time, during that month ? Fat chance.
The paramedics had made a mess, it was an emergency, that it just how it is.
My father in law was a proud and dignified man.
The only practical thing I could do to help my husband and my brother-in-law was spare them seeing him at the end of his life disheveled and stripped of his dignity. So I washed and dressed him. Not something I was every culturally prepared for, but it helped that I knew, that if he knew, he would have appreciated being touched and handled with respect and care.
And I don’t think I cried, I just did it, it felt right and I knew I was doing the right thing and I was the only family member who could it. I liked having something useful i could do that made things better,or at least stopped them being worse.
And yet tonight, when Rosie, my littlest doggie, my first ever doggy, slipped away like we knew she would, I buried her with no stiff upper lip to be found.
If you had given me the scenarios in the hypothetical I’d have told you that I simply couldn’t do the first, cos I’d fall apart at the seams, and the second would be easier cos I have had to bury pets before and the first cut is the deepest.
But I was wrong. I haven't built up any immunity at all.
Maybe I just like animals more than humans. Although I don’t think that is true. But maybe I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did.
Or maybe I can only grieve openly and unreservedly if a enthusiastic face licking and trying to trip me up twenty times a day is part of the relationship.
Mario already leaves his clothes lying around everywhere like deathtraps. Maybe if he slobbers on my face instead of kissing me in the morning he’ll up his chances of a properly mournful widow.
Cos I have already decided he is going first.
Because I want to lay him out, so the last hand that ever touches him on this earth is the one who loves him the most.
Although I’m not sure he is too happy about his placement in the queue of mortality organized behind his back.
Do I make sense ?
Is my heart broken ?
My son, who will have some unhappy news in the morning, is snoring loudly, which means he is breathing and I have kept my sense of proportion.
I have a stubbed toe, not a broken back.
But it hurts, it really fucking hurts.