My Family

8:38 AM Edit This 15 Comments »
It's Monday. And for once, I didn't dread it. Because it means this weekend is over and all the busy stuff associated with death is over, too. Not that there aren't hard moments ahead, but still. I don't know how people can just stand there and look at a dead body for minutes at a time - all waxy and not real and well - it's just a shell. And it makes me sick to my stomach. There used to be a vibrant, loving soul in there, you know? And the soul is not there anymore, so it's not really him, but it is, and then I get confused and my brain is wont to explode and I just can't look anymore. So while Miss M is doing whatever she needs to do at the casket, I'm standing beside her looking at the flowers and occasionally glancing out of the corner of my eye at his hands because staring at him is going to make my hurt stomach do something even more vile. But then we sat down to a standing room only crowd and people got up and said the most wonderful things about him.

And here's the most amazing thing. When I ended up in treatment, this man asked me what I wanted most out of being sober. And I told him I wanted to be Kate all the time. Just me. That I was sick of playing some sort of role in every part of my life. Work Kate and Friend Kate and Daughter Kate and Sister Kate and Drunk Kate and Psychotic Kate. And I just wanted to make all those Kates combine into someone that I could be proud of all the time. And he smiled and said it was most certainly possible. I didn't believe him at the time, but it's true. I'm just Kate all the time now and it's the most wonderful thing ever. Well. As Miss M and I were driving away from the funeral home, she remarked how every person that got up talked about the same person we had known. Everyone's experience of him as a person was remarkably similar. And I realized at that moment, that he embodied what I had wanted and showed me how to do it. And well - that's one of the best gifts he gave to me. Just Kate.

The funeral was beautiful. And as I looked around the room, I thought about how lucky I am to have such a large, lovely and wonderful family. These people are my family. They are. I got dragged, kicking and screaming into this thing called recovery. I was obstinate, willful, sarcastic, whiny and bitchy. And people like this man would pull me into hugs I didn't want and hold on until I relaxed into them and cried. He loved me when I couldn't love myself. And as we walked out of the church, I realized that this love is something that I get to give away today. It was given to me when I didn't want it. And I hated him for it. Because I didn't think I deserved it. So, I pulled obstinate, grieving brothers and sisters into the kind of tight hugs I have become known for and kept hanging on through their sobs. Because today, I can. My family. My loves. I am so lucky.

15 comments:

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Just Kate. So simple. So pure. So amazing you're finally *here.* It's a gift that keeps on giving. And it's wonderful you recognize you're in a place to start sharing it with others.

buffalodick said...

I'm glad you went. It was good of you, and good for you..

melissalion said...

I love all the connections. The birth and the death.

New Life, indeed.

GreenCanary said...

I know that "Just Kate" has been a lifesaver for me. Many times over. And one day I'll get one of the hugs you're known for and I'll give you one right back.

BrianAlt said...

That's a beautiful eulogy, Kate. As it's been said before, he'll live forever in your heart.

P.S. I don't get the whole, open casket thing. Can't 1 person vouch for everyone that it's really him in there?

Ink Spiller said...

Very beautiful Kate. He would be honored.

Jen said...

Just Kate. That's a great way of putting it. It reminded me of my younger days when I was worried of pleasing everyone and was anything but just me. Good for you for going and for having this epiphany.

justme said...

oh, goose bumps on my arms. that was beautiful.

clearness said...

I'm not a big fan of funerals. I think that body parts need to be donated to save lives and then donated to science to save lives in a different way.......and the people need to get together to have a big party in the name of the recently departed. Good food, good friends all of them telling stories all the happy stories.

bustysatan said...

Just Kate. I love it. So well put.

The Good Cook said...

I am sitting here smiling the biggest smile for you (through just a little bit of tears)

The Pollinatrix said...

There is so much graceful strength in this post.

TMC said...

Great perspective, Kate!

Sparkling Red said...

Your heart and soul are beautiful.

Allie said...

That's beautiful! I'm so glad you get to be just Kate now.