We left last week for my grandfather’s funeral.
The flight there was completely uneventful. Pipsqueak was asleep before we even made it over the Rocky Mountains and didn’t wake up until we landed. I won the seating lottery when I volunteered to sit next to him and Bip wanted to sit on the other side of me, leaving Philip to sit next to Sir Talks Alot. Ha!
The funeral was a good one. My mom asked me and Philip to do the readings and I chose to go first because I know better than to go after Phil. Seriously, the guy has a deep, rich voice and he reads with great feeling. I am an accomplished public speaker as well, but I’ve got nothing on Phil. Voluntarily being the speaker after Phil is one of the classic blunders.
Now, normally I am fine with this. My reading was one we used at Rebecca’s funeral and ends with “He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries him close to his heart.” I was pretty confident I could make it through, in spite of the association. What I hadn’t counted on was the first song also being from Rebecca’s funeral and one that is very hard for us to get through on a normal day without at least tearing up . And THEN my mom delivered a very moving eulogy right before my reading. I was shaky and choked up, but I took a deep breath and took my time. All those years of public speaking and teaching and teaching people how to teach really paid off. I got all the way to the end, the “He gathers the lambs” part before my voice got shaky. But I was OK. No shame in showing emotion.
Phil, of course, was rock steady and he had people (including the priest) asking if he is a lector a home. Grrr!
Boo was an altar server for the funeral. He did a great job. I was proud of him, as always. Pumpkin Girl and Bip took up the gifts with the other great-grandson who is not mine. Everyone got to participate, except Pipsqueak, who looked cute and then fell asleep.
After mass we went to the cemetery. We saw a Navy guy saluting and finally realized that my grandfather was getting a military burial. Taps, the folded flag presented to my grandmother, the whole bit. It was wonderful to see him honored like that.
Then it was time to leave. I hated that part with Rebecca. Just turning around and walking away. It is so…final.
The reception afterwards was at a seafood restaurant right on the harbor. The food was great but seeing all my relatives was even better. We had a DVD slide show of my grandfather which was so much fun. His sisters brought a CD player and played the song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”
I learned that my grandfather was the oldest of 8 children (I only remember his 3 sisters). He returned to the Catholic Church after going on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje with my grandmother. He really just went along to protect her. He met Lou Holtz (coach of Notre Dame) on that trip (he was making the same pilgrimage) and demanded an explanation of his coaching decisions in the big game against USC!
Just so you know, he only has three grandchildren.
We had a hard time leaving my grandparents house, we always do. We feel loved and safe there. But we did need to come home.
And now we are back.