Thursday, September 18, 2008

Our Story Part 10

Tattoos, and Funerals

Late Friday night, Craig and I decided to drive back to Red Wing. We still had our hotel room reservation and we still really wanted to get away. We knew Diane's funeral wasn't going to be for a few days and there wouldn't be much for us to do at home the next day. My mother in law told us to go, she knew how badly we needed it. So, at about midnight, we drove the 2 hours south. We were exhausted, but it felt good to lay in bed together. We needed a break from people and we were heading into another people full event.

We just couldn't believe the way things were happening. We had cancelled our tattoo appointment the day before but had rescheduled for the next day. We arrived at Spirit Garden's (that was her name, I guess ) tattoo shop early afternoon and settled in for our tattoos. I have such fun memories of this event. I think it was one of the first times I felt like things would be okay again some day. Never the same, never ever the same. And no time soon. But, hearing Craig joke in his typical manner made me feel "at home."

He was the first up in Spirit's chair. She got to work on the cute teddy bear holding a blue flower on his left uper arm. After she was done, she asked him to look in the mirror and tell her what he thought. He took one look at it and said "Well, it is nice, but it is backwards." A look of horror came over her face, until she realized he was joking. He was looking at in the mirror. She laughed, I laughed and to this day that memory is one of my strongest in the days after his death.

After we both got our tattoos, we both were obsessed with looking at them in the mirror. I was (and am) extremely proud of my tattoo for Curtis. Like I had stated before, Craig is the exact opposite of a tattoo guy. No way he would have ever gotten a tattoo, much less a tattoo of a teddy bear.

But Curtis. That Curtis. He changed us. He forever made us people we never thought we would be.

We spent the rest of Saturday together. We ate at a Chinese restaurant, we gambled in the casino and we talked. We knew this was our one shot. This was the one day that we had together before we were thrust back into the real world. Not just Diane's funeral, but Craig was going to need to return to work. We stopped at Target for ointment for our tattoos, and I wandered into the book section. I picked up Marley and Me, a book about a maniac dog. I read the book jacket. It mentioned how the dog helped the couple after they suffered a pregnancy loss. My eyes welled with tears and I bought the book. I knew sometime I would be strong enough to read it.

On Sunday, we made out way back home and went over with Diane's family. There were tons of people, preparing for the funeral. We had many people come us, hug us, tell us how sorry they were. We were saying the same thing back.

One thing that really sticks out in my head this day is listening to Diane's husband speak. I was sitting at the kitchen table, and he was talking to a cousin of Diane's who was going to do the eulogy. Steve started telling their story. How they met, when they decided to get married, he told about the birth of their 4 boys. He started talking about how in between sons three and four, they suffered a miscarriage. How sad that time was. I remember tears just pouring out of my eyes, thinking about their loss. How hard that must have been on Diane. Up until this point, I had been on autopilot. I hadn't cried much, I was just done with all emotion. But that moment brought it all back.

On Monday, Craig went to work and we met at the funeral home later for visitation. I had thrown on some maternity clothes. I knew I needed to wear the outfit I had worn to Curtis' funeral to Diane's. It was the only thing that fit. So I put on these maternity clothes that didn't fit and felt uncomfortable.

Which is exactly how I felt at her visitation and funeral.

I think the visitation was the worst of the two. Everyone knew what had happened to us, but since we had a small service, no one had seen us. We had swarms of people around us, telling us how sorry they were, how bad they felt. A friend of my mother in law's grabbed my face and expressed her sadness. I didn't want to be rude, but I wanted nothing more than to yank my face away. The visitation allowed more time for talking like this, I felt like too much attention was focused on us. That probably isn't true, but with the amount of people coming up to us, I felt like we were standing out.

This wasn't Curtis' funeral. This was Diane's. I didn't want to talk to people. I didn't want their sympathy. I wanted to be left alone. I nodded politely, and said thank you. I tried not to get separate from Craig as he was better at handling the situation than I was.

At the funeral the next day, Craig was a pall bearer so he needed to sit up front and I was sitting in a pew with my sister in law and a friend. I remember them sobbing into their Kleenex and once again, I felt nothing. Watching Diane's husband and 4 boys, with their arms all around each other, looking at her body one last time before they closed the casket? Nothing.

I was empty. I knew it was a horrible loss. I knew it was unfair. But at this point, nothing seemed to phase me. My brain had shut off emotion. It was the only way I could survive.


Sally said...

Things I connect with in this post - being a totally different person. My husband also isn't much of a tattoo man. He wears only his plain gold wedding band and a watch i bought him years ago. Yet he now wants a tattoo, too. And being shut off from emotion. I don't get upset at anything anymore. I see a tragedy on the news that once would have made me upset - nup, not anymore.

Kristi said...

I think your Craig reminds me of mine. He is SO not a tattoo guy... architecture is his thing, not tattoos but he wants one since I'm getting one. We shall see.

I'm always overly emotional. I can only imagine how much a tragedy like losing a child changes how you see all things and how you cope with them.

Paige said...

I've always thought it was so cool that you and Craig got those tattoos. The fact that it serves as such a strong memory proves that. :)

Anonymous said...

I haven't been through anything like this, but I wanted to speak up and let you know that I'm reading your story and I'm learning so much.


Cara said...

Double loss is overwhelming and doesn't hold any punches! How brave of you and Craig to "get away" before you had to face it. The tatoos sound adorable.