Well, we are home from the funeral.
It was a sad, sad, sad, sad, sad funeral. I wish I had been able to go to the wake, but DH didn’t get back from drill until noonish on Sunday, and it takes about 5 hours to get to my Grandparents’ house, so we got to Dubuque about the time the viewing was over. Mom said that the funeral director said it was the most people he had ever seen at a wake. The line stretched throughout the building, out the door, and down the street. Mom said she was shaking hands all day.
For those of you who aren’t Catholic, from what I can tell, they’ve got a ceremony for everything. I’m not Catholic, but I know that when someone dies, they are taken to the funeral home and embalmed, and there is a date set for the Wake/Viewing. The immediate family goes to the funeral home and stands near the casket. Well-wishers stop by the funeral home and walk through, along the line of family members, hugging and crying, if needed, and then stop to pay their respects to the deceased. They bring food and flowers to the funeral home. My relatives said that there was more food than could fit into the kitchen and dining area of the building.
I was ok until the next morning, after we got ready. My Grandma stood up and then turned around and hugged me, and cried. She just stood there and cried. I couldn’t help it. I started crying again, and we were all a bit edgy until we got to the funeral home.
The day of the actual funeral, the family goes to the funeral home, and there is a small ceremony, with a prayer, et cetera, and the family is asked to come to the side of the deceased and pay their final respects. DH and I were going to ride with my mom and her DH, and my Grandmother in my mom’s car, but they decided to have someone else ride with them, so we were told that we had to drive our own car. I asked the funeral director for a flag for our car, and he looked at his list and said “You’re not in the funeral procession.”
I have realized that it is not a good thing to provoke a grieving person. Even me, with my gentle, mellow disposition, entertained thoughts of stabbing the funeral director in the eye with his own pen and telling him where he could stick his effing funeral procession list.
Fortunately for the poor clueless funeral director, DH saw the wild look in my eyes and waved one of the women who works at the funeral home over. She stepped up to us and handed my DH a flag for our car before some harm befell the director. She said she recognized us from earlier, and that we would just have to make sure we were in line behind one of the other flagged cars.
The funeral procession left the building and travelled the four blocks through town to the church where the funeral mass was to be held. I don’t think most people realize what is supposed to happen when you are in a funeral motorcade.
If you’ve got that flag on your car that says “Funeral” on it, DON’T STOP FOR RED LIGHTS OR STOP SIGNS, FOR THE LOVE OF FREAKIN’ GOD GOOD LORD PEOPLE HOW HARD IS THAT TO UNDERSTAND???
The hearse would stop for a red light, and then when it would turn green, the vehicles travelled through it–OBVIOUSLY this is a funeral procession! Then we watched several cars hesitate as the light turned yellow–I’m not sure if it was out of habit or if they were really too loopy to remember what the director had said about continuing the procession. Cars stopped for us, there was really nothing to look out for, and these people are stopping at red lights.
So we went to the church, and they asked me to help remove the pall. Uh…at least I think that was what it was. I was ok for a while. I said “What the hell are you asking me to do?” They said oh it’s a ceremony where a girl from each family helps to put the white pall (sp?) over the casket when it arrives at the church.
So when we get there, they tell me to go up to the front and help put the pall onto the casket. As I walk into the church building, among all of my family members, all of Grandpa’s friends, among all of the people who came to pay their respects, I lost it. I was sobbing as we all walked up to the casket. One of my cousins was sobbing right along with me. I was not ashamed.
What hit me then and there was not my grief for the passing of a loved one, but appreciation, gratitude, marvelling in amazement at the outpouring of love and support from the people of Dubuque, from people who never even knew Grandpa. There were people there who had never met my Grandfather. They were there because they know his children and grandchildren, and because they respect him for the excellent influence that his life had on ours.
They were there as a testament to what good people my aunts and uncles are, what a good person my mother is. They were there as a testament to the man who shaped us all. I was in awe of the respect that was held there in that church.
I sat through the funeral between my DH and someone I didn’t know.
After the funeral, we were all escorted out. I cried again.
The cemetery across town was our next destination. It is where my cousin is buried, who drowned while fishing in the Mississippi River when he was 15. My Grandpa’s mother–my Great-Grandma–is buried there. And my Grandmother will be buried there when she passes away.
We all cried again as we left the casket in the chapel at the cemetery. Leaving had a kind of finality that wrapped everything up for me. Afterwards there was a lunch at the local Moose lodge. It took my Grandma an hour to leave the chapel. She just couldn’t leave him there…they were married for 57 years.
The lunch was nice. We told funny stories and reminisced about Grandpa. We ate too much and tried to make dinner plans. Well…I tried to make dinner plans. One of my aunts had already told everyone that they were coming to her house to get rid of some of the food that she had accumulated throughout the past few weeks.
This aunt never asks if anyone wants to come over. She just plans something and expects everyone to be there, and if they don’t show up, she gets offended and won’t talk to someone for months. it’s ridiculous. My Grandma decided she wanted to go, and DH and I were “volunteered” to take her there. I didn’t want to go (it’s a whole other blog post) but we went anyways. We stayed for 45 minutes and left after my cousin told me that she would bring Gram back to the house.
DH and I ordered Chinese food at my Gram’s house and watched “Blades of Glory.” What a dumb movie! It took my mind off crummy feelings for a while, though.
I am home again, and ready to get back to work. School type work, that is…