It's been a long week of wake and funeral and extra people in my house. Losing Carol has made us all clingy, like we're afraid to let one another out of our sight. After all, two weeks before she died, Carol was making plans. Then, suddenly, there was no feeding tube and no eating and hospice and what will you wear at your own funeral and POOF! She was gone, leaving a huge hole in her place, a hole we're all a bit afraid we'll fall into and disappear ourselves.
The wake was at the funeral home across the street from our house. Mostly, I stood on the porch and chatted with Larry, the funeral director, who is my age. His mother still lives upstairs in the house--it's been a family business forever, and he, his wife, and their three kids (ages 6, 4, and 2) are over there a lot. Someday, they'll be our neighbors. Standing outside, talking to him made the whole thing a bit easier to take. Thanks, Larry.
The funeral was another story. When Erin's whole high school varsity soccer team walked in together and sat down, taking up two full pews, I lost it. The tears just rolled. Erin did the eulogy herself, and floored us all with her poise and self-assuredness. Her mother would have been so very proud. Her father's speech afterwards...Well, let's just say it was an interesting look into what their married life must have been like. All 25 minutes of it (the speech, not the marriage). 25 minutes is a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time at the end of an hour-long catholic funeral mass.
Somewhere in the middle, while the priest was serving communion to the catholics in the crowd, I was struck by a memory. The last catholic funeral I was at before this one was Tim's grandfather's. I was sitting in the very front pew with his whole family (as Irish catholic as they come!). When we got to the communion part of the service, I was torn. SHould I go up and take it, even though I "officially" shouldn't, not being catholic myself, or should I sit by myself in the pew like a giant roadblock while his whole family shuffled past me? In the end, I followed him through the line, taking the host from the priest. I didn't swallow it, though--I just held it in my hand. Through the whole rest of the service. On the whole ride from the church to the cemetary. At the graveside part of the service, too. At one point, Tim reached over to take my hand and discovered it. We were co-conspirators then, deciding what to do from there. I don't remember what we decided. I just remember laughing about it.
At Carol's service, I didn't go up for communion, but the memory of Tim's grandfather's service traveled back and struck me and made me giggle. A lot. I had to put my head down and pretend I was crying. My coworkers looked sadly on--"Poor Jennifer, overcome by her grief." If they only knew...
Carol would have appreciated the laugh.