The grandmother of one of my very best friends passed away yesterday. She fell asleep while watching TV. She didn’t wake up again. Just the day before, she went grocery shopping and bought more stuff than their house actually needs.She was very healthy for a 79-year-old and she had a strong personality as well. “She’s like the grumpy cat but funny,” Katrina, my best friend, would say.
Earlier today, I went to the wake. Believe me when I say I am fully aware of how totally inappropriate and just flat out wrong this sounds, but I had a really good time. I went there, preparing myself to be the shoulder to cry on for my best friend. I left, being told by that very person to drive carefully and that she was very happy to see me.
No tears were shed. On the contrary, laughter was very much had.
Katrina told me funny, and I mean really funny, stories about her grandmother – how she would intentionally fart near her face, how she would unintentionally ask a store clerk for a pack of beer when she really meant a pack of bottled water, and some other hilarious memories she has of her.
And then at some point I realized I’ve never seen her cry before, which I shared with her. Which led to us reminiscing about the only time she saw me bawl my eyes out when my ex broke up with me. Which made us remember how her brother drove around campus with the windows rolled down, shouting my ex’s name so that he could beat him up for making his sister’s best friend cry.
So there we were, at the front of an otherwise solemn room, laughing and giggling.
My family loves Katrina, but they also think she’s weird. And I have to say, she really is. That’s what I love about her. I went to her grandmother’s wake, thinking that she, like any normal person, would be either consumed with grief or completely lost in it.
But it was neither of those. Because Katrina is weird. Because Katrina, unlike any other person, has the grace to accept the bad and the spirit to focus on the good. She still has moments of sadness, but she doesn’t allow herself to stay there longer than she needs to. She can laugh with a broken heart because she knows it will heal.
Now isn’t that just crazy beautiful?