Putting the fun in funeral

Saturday was our first real spring day. A perfect day to go to my uncle’s funeral. We got all dressed up, something we haven’t done in a long time, indulged J’s need for more Mongolian Grill on the way down, and arrived on time.

I had more or less indicated that the girls were going, whether people wanted them to or not. No one directly expressed any concern to me, but dad apparently my dad was worried and asked my aunt and cousin who wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, when we arrived, my cousin immediately took Bunny to see my aunt because it was Bunny who helped her blow out the candles at her 75’s birthday and my girls are the life of every one of those family gatherings. I wanted there because of that. Because they can bring a little sunshine to a sad occasion. Also, while she won’t remember it, my uncle, in his quiet, humourous and determined way, ignored all of our complaints and poured my then barely 1yo daughter her first glass of wine. Because that’s just the way my uncle rolled.

Dad was worried about how the girls would take it, and was happy that there was no actual casket – a starter funeral, if you will. My husband’s mom died about a decade ago and we visit her grave annually, so to me, this funeral helps in their understanding of death.

Of course, my girls were splendid. As always, we were complimented on how well behaved they are, considering they were quiet through the whole ceremony. They served also to help my sister, who lost her father-in-law the night before and will soon have been to 3 funerals in a month. She said that she was happily drugged at the moment, and would sit next to the girls during the ceremony for the much needed distraction. Turns out the actual burial would not be the same day, but sis had not intended to go anyway. Instead, we all indulged our fried chicken requirements (and officially ended Fried Chicken Week on Buzz) at a Popeye’s, conveniently located a mere block away.

I was not overly close to my uncle (though I will miss his stew peas and rice, which I’m so happy my cousin mentioned in her eulogy). My tears were more about the recognition that I will, one day, be up at a similar podium with my siblings. It’s fitting that I ended up starting Speaker for the Dead this weekend. My poor, obsessed with death brother was having a field day in his continued efforts to try to give himself a heart attack. He’d called all three of us the night before and then called us all shortly after the ceremony had ended, leaving messages that we fought over who would have to return first. My dad left yesterday to visit my brother. I’m hoping he will not smother him with his love and fear of dad’s pending mortality the way he recently did with mom on her trip.

On an inappropriately amusing note, my dad called the night before to ask about borrowing our wheel barrow and shovel. Imagine, then, my brother and husband, both jokers, transferring said wheel barrow and shovel between cars in the parking lot of a funeral home…

Originally posted here.

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