It’s been a long week, folks.

Jimmy’s service, Grandma’s service and reading the stark words of a fellow blogger who’s just been diagnosed with cancer, I realize that staying positive is more than just a rainbow and kitten-nose outlook on life. It’s really freaking hard work!

I watch the way others cope, not in a judgmental way, but more in a “if that works for them, would it work for me?” introspective way. At least MOST of the time, I’m not afraid to admit that I can be ALL SORTS of judgmental when the situation calls for it. Like when the clerk at the 24 hour 7-11 says “Well, not 24 hours in a ROW”. HUH? That’s me being all judgmental about his need to head back to middle school for some of that high brow learning stuff.

But anyway, I guess because I have so many things to cope through, I look for ways it done better, more efficiently, with less heaving and sobbing and throwing of garden tools.

I was asked in an interview something along the lines of: you seem to be coping so well, how did you do it? I nearly ruined a perfectly good laptop by snorting soda all over the keyboard. Yes, Natalie, how DO I cope so well? Not only did I get super duper RAGING angry at Pete just before we left for Miami….my dear friend who was just stopping by to do something nice by watching our dog for us got caught in the crosshairs.

I wish I could identify the one trigger that set me off., but I swear from the moment my eyes met the light, I was prepared for it to be a sucky day. I was irritated by my kids, the whole packing-to-go-to-another-funeral thing was stressing me out, and everything Pete did…from talking to breathing…was part of the shovel that dug me deeper into the funk I had so carefully prepared for myself. I was a glaring, huffing, snotty, ugly person that day….and I so loosely use the word “day”, which could easily be replaced with “days” or “week”…and I knew why, but not WHY.

Do I have reason to unleash the full power of my cranky on the world? Maybe. I’m full of grief, frustration, and uncontrollable sadness. I hate cancer and what it does to the lives of people I love, people I barely know, anyone who has to suffer through this disease. I’m tired of going to funerals. I’m up to 7 funerals in 6 months. Grandma’s was the first that wasn’t cancer related. I’m angry!

Then today I’m sitting beneath a tent, starring at a picture of a woman who lived 99 years on this earth. And the love that she shared with each person she came into contact was universally whole. The stories shared about the depth of this woman’s devotion to family and friends, the endurance of her kindness and compassion were endless.

I had this epiphany that I shouldn’t be watching people to see how they cope with the extraordinary, but I should be absorbing how to deal with the mundane from someone who obviously knew how to do it right. I’m sure all the varous loved ones there today took away different emotions. But I just felt this calm, this peace and all the built up animosity just melted away.

Tonight at dinner I asked my family what they’d want to hear said about themselves at their funeral. What words would you like to be attributed to who you were while alive? The kids were so kids, they want to be remembered as funny, goofy, clean and I think Rachael said “blurry” at one point. Peter wanted to be remembered as a good father, good husband, trustworthy friend, loving person…so done already.

Because people say all the lies you want them to right things during the eulogy, I’m sure many of the things I’d like people to say about me would BE said. Now, I just have to work harder on making them true.

List of things I hope people will say about me when I’m gone

I was faithful to my Lord
My family knew that they were loved by me
I was a good listener
I was honest
I was a friend that could be counted upon
I could laugh
I was responsible for my actions
I was understanding when I could be, and when I couldn’t, I was accepting

What would you like to hear about yourself?

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1. Katie Perera

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