Number 4

I went to my fourth funeral today.  Well, I guess it was not a funeral according to my daughter since there was no ‘body’ present.

The first one was my Aunt Grace. She was actually a great Aunt. My Gradmother’s sister. I was very young. Every one got very drunk.  I remember my aunts all wearing either too much lipstick, or just the wrong color, having the largest breasts, being perfumy, and being a bunch of tough women, with great sense of humors.  I was invisible.

The second was my dad’s.  People had to physically dress me.  It was hard to get out of bed. I remember being angry that people were looking at his body.  It was morbid to me, and made me mad because it didn’t even look ike him.  it was all too weird – and religious. The Bishop did the service and there were a lot of higher ups in Catholic church facilitating the service.  I can’t tell you one thing they said.  But I have a feeling that the tape I have downstairs in the safe is a tape of the service.  I’ve been told not to listen to it yet.  I was 22.

The third was my daughter’s drama teacher, Mrs. Miller. She was a great inspiration to my daughter through school and Meghan just loved her.  All the kids did.  She got a quick cancer and it was fast and took the community by surprise. The Baptist church was filled with crying teenagers, and I was a wreck for weeks afterwards.  About the scariness of how fast and how young, and seeing my daughter so upset. I went for her.  I knew it was her first one. I was worried about my baby.  It was MY first non-Irish/Catholic service, and it was VERY different. and incredibly heart wrenching.

Today was Wylie’s. The same Baptist church was filled with kids that were sad.  We are talking munchkins here. (elementary school).  It was a touching memorial, and I made it through.

I bit my lip so hard it’s swollen. Tonight it is bleeding. But I didn’t lose it.

I did watch people – grown people – just like me – biting their lips also, and not being able to contain their sorrow when they looked at the children.  I watched one man in particular.  I do not know this man, but watching him was like watching an injured little boy in a suit.  He was very Southern, very kind, and very driven by his beliefs in his church. (Baptist)  He was a very tall, large man, and seeing a man breaking in front of you doesn’t happen very often.  Men hold it together, unless they are losing it, and the way I have experienced men, they lose it is usually in anger but not in fits of emotion in a way that humbles them, makes them hunch, bite their lip.

I watched Wylie’s mom Jill walk all hunched over, like the weight of the planet was on her.  I hope daily it is lifted for her.

Lainey’s dad says this helps with closure. That’s why people do funerals. I asked him if he thought it works, and he thought so, so I am hopeful for Jill and Seth to be able to move forward, and will be standing straight up before long.



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