I remember being at my great grandmother’s funeral. I remember seeing my great-great aunt who, with the passing of my great grandmother, was the only one left of her generation. I remember how sad I felt for her and that I didn’t feel I had the right thing to say to her to make her feel better . I felt awkward and so I said nothing. This many years later I think that just a hug or an “I know how much you’ll miss her” or an “I’m so sorry for your loss” would have been so much better. Shame on me.
Fast forward a few decades and I’m in line for food at Nancy’s funeral…and I completely don’t understand having to feed people who are supposed to be there for support and to honor the dead…anyway, I was in line at the reception. Nancy was my sister’s ex-sister-in-law. Nancy was one of the most sunny and funny people I ‘ve ever met in my life. She died of a very radical form of breast cancer when she was only 47. This was what Nancy had to say the day of her mastectomy “oh man, I sure got a load off my chest today”. I remember when Bern and I pulled into a parking space to go to Nancy’s funeral and we met my parents in the parking lot. My mom was just shaking her head and she said “this isn’t right, this just isn’t right…no child should ever leave before their parents” . My mom was entirely correct. Does any parent have a bigger fear than losing a child?
Yes, I am going to go back to the standing in line for food at Nancy’s funeral but 1st I’d like to mention that once you marry and then divorce someone, it’s optional to you and your family on whether or not you stay related to the divorced person’s family. We all opted to stay related to Nancy. She came to our family functions long after Bernadette divorced Bill. Nancy was always welcomed. She was always an asset. During the service for her funeral the priest listed off some of her best one-liners. The stories of things she’d said made us laugh at her funeral. That was a good thing because not long after the priest finished relaying some of her one-liners there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. She was very much loved. I’m misleading you to think that Nancy’s only quality was being funny. Not true, she loved with all of her heart and was willing to help out anyone who needed help. She was a giver, not a taker. She was a good person.
Completely not the point of this blog (still hate that word) I just wanted everyone in the world to know that Nancy lived and died and was, very much, someone worth knowing.
Okay, back to being in line and I promise to stick to my point. My parents left after the service and before the reception part of Nancy’s funeral so it was Bernadette and I in line and she was behind me. Nancy had 3 siblings and I think she was the 3rd kid out of the 4. Bernadette and Nancy had been very close and here was Bernadette amongst all of her ex’s family and I know that she was distraught over Nancy’s death and most likely uncomfortable being in the same space with all of her ex husband’s family and she was on a non stop train-of-thought talking. She was thinking of Nancy’s place in the family which brought her train of thought to herself and her own siblings. My parents have 5 children. “Who do you think will go first?” Bernadette asked me. ” I think Claudette will go 1st because of blah, blah, and I think Bob will go 1st because of blah, blah, blah, blah and I think you will go first because of blah, blah, blah and I think Joe will go first because of blah…” and it was at that point that I turned around and cut her off. I remembered how sad my great-great aunt had been at my great grandmother’s funeral. Being the only one left from her generation. I turned around, looked my sister in the eye and asked “do you really want to be last?”
That ended that conversation.