Saturday, April 9, 2011

Funerals Are Funny Things

There are moments in your life you never forget.  I remember the Challenger explosion.  I remember the first day of middle school.  I remember the day my sister had surgery on her legs.  The first day of band camp in high school.  Graduation.  Starting college.  Meeting Clark Kent for the first time.  Saying I love you.  The births of each of my children.  And most recently the last time I spoke to my grandmother.  She was not coherent.  But it was the last time I saw her.  And I said goodbye.  Then she was gone.  I haven’t had much to say this week because I’ve been busy, we’ve been driving (and driving and driving and driving) and I’ve said goodbye.  Warning … I’ve got some stuff to say, and it’s not orthodox or polite or appropriate.  Bear with me.  It’s time someone said it.

Funerals are such funny things.  I know, that’s sick you say.  Well, they are.  People always say things like “she looks so good” at the wake.  And yeah, I guess she does.  And it comforts us.  But to me she looked like a shell.  A great big empty shell.  With some makeup and earrings.  Good?  Sure.  But not there.  Long gone, with Jesus.  It’s the way people deal, I suppose.  And the ones that say “I can’t believe she’s gone”.  Really?  She was 83, with horrible liver cancer.  Painful and debilitating.  I can believe it.  And I’m so glad she’s not suffering anymore.  I personally can’t believe she had to live that long.  I know I wouldn’t want to live that long like that.  Just so you know.  If I get really sick and can’t be healed, Lord have Mercy send me out to pasture and shoot me.  Hopefully that will be legal.  If not, I’m okay with it.  Tell the nice Police Officer that.  I’m okay with it, so it’s not wrong.  Perhaps my favorite is “I just want you to know how much she’ll be missed” YOU want ME to know that?  Yeah, I have inkling.  She was my grandmother.  Who I spent almost every weekend of my childhood with.  Got it.  But again, just trying to cope.  It’s like there’s a book called “Good Southern Comforting Words for Funerals” and we all just quote from it, ending of course with the obligatory “Bless your Heart”. 

I also love funerals because you get to see people that you either don’t know or haven’t seen since the last funeral.  “Hey Daryl.  How on earth are you?  Haven’t seen you since YOUR grandmother passed away!  How the heck are things going?”  And no apologies that both of you were family jerks and didn’t try to see how each other were the last 15 years.  No trying to catch up the last 15 years.  Just pick up like it was yesterday and talk about the old times.  Laugh and cry over the person that brought you here.  There’s always a happy story, a funny story, and a sad story.  And everyone tries their best to tell the funniest and stupidest things to make you laugh.  You’re all family, after all.  Even if you can’t remember who the heck they are and how they are related.  That’s what funerals do. 

So that makes me laugh.  Funerals are funny things.  Bringing together family in a way that the person who passed never could have hoped for in life.  As I watched my grandmother’s casket get lowered into the ground I couldn’t help but laugh.  One because I was stuck behind a car, behind a car, behind a car because Daryl couldn’t shut up.  Two because my grandmother the reunion planner finally got everyone together.  She’d be proud. And we celebrated in true Southern fashion ... we went to Ryan's all you can eat buffet.  

1 comment:

  1. Love, love, love the Ryan's part of this! Good stuff, Jess.