So this is the update from the Slightly Larger Midwestern City. My folks came out to my grandmother's house Thursday night. Since it was my birthday and I didn't much want to be with my parents at that point, I spent the night with TyRoy, who did a nice job of providing me with a place of refuge for the night. Friday, my uncle, my uncle's boyfriend, and I carpooled it out here, the driving being split between my uncle's boyfriend and I, who'd both gotten about three hours of sleep the night before, as my uncle is in constant pain, which is much worse when he doesn't take his pain medication on a very strict schedule. We were just in time to spend three hours making the funeral arrangements alongside my parents. Then, it was back to grandma's house to make calls to inform people that the visitation will be Saturday evening and the funeral Sunday afternoon. (We decided there was no point in putting it off and the weekend would mean no one would have to take off work to come.) These calls included calling my other uncle to inform him that his mother had died, which I volunteered for, though no one really wanted to do it after how he behaved when Grandpa died. (Though when I talked to him, he took it all ok, even acknowledging that he had "shown his ass" previously. We'll see how this all shakes out when it comes to Grandma's "estate", such as it is.) We still need to get pictures together and my uncle needs to buy a suit, as none of his really fit anymore, but the immediate things seem to be settling into place.
I worry about my mom, as she seems to be just so very tired, and... defeated, even, which is something I just don't ever remember having seen on her. I tend to think that it is because she has the full weight of all this on her shoulders and, in some ways, her shoulders alone. She is now the leader of our family, the matriarch, a role I'm not sure anyone is ever ready for. She is also the executor of my grandmother's estate, which is mostly just this house that my grandparents built when they first married and the responsibility for taking care of my middle uncle's funeral when he inevitably drinks himself to death or overdoses. Deciding what to do with this house is.... well, I'll just say that I'm glad I'm not the one making the decision, the one with the final say. Though I honestly believe that my mom will be able to handle this fine, once we come out on the other side of the funeral, when things settle down, when there are less people around scrutinizing things.
As for me, I'm planning on speaking at my grandmother's funeral, using my words to try to do some justice to her life. Not that my grandma was a great literary critic, or even an unbiased reader, but she loved reading what she could sneak a peak at over my shoulders or on the computer screen when I would accidentally leave a piece of writing laying around so I could go to the restroom or get a drink. (We are WAY too much alike in our snoopiness.) In the end, she lived the average amount of time, made a house and a home with the man she loved fiercely until the day she died in that very same home, where they had raised three of their own children, one grandchild, and had been loving caretakers for many more children. She was not a saint or even the easiest person to get along with in the best of times, but she touched a great many people in positive ways, as is evident by the people that my family called today to update them on the situation. I think many of us could only hope that we go out that way.