It's hard to believe it's been over a week already. Time has just kind of slipped away. Thursday was spent with the family planning services and such. Friday I went back to work, I think, though I sort of don't remember. Last Saturday was a very long day as I recall. R and I kept trying to think of things to do to fill time. We ran some errands, played with the dog...urging time to move, both dreading Sunday and wanting it to come, waiting and not for things to move on. Sunday was his dad's wake...the harder day in some ways of the two days of saying goodbye. So many people came to be part of this. Big families are so different for me. R is the "baby" of nine in his family, and his dad's own birth family was large as well, so there are just a lot of people in this clan of his. And I guess when you live in the same area for a big part of a ninety-six year life, you get to know a few folks as well! Sunday there was a rosary at three and a prayer service at seven. Almost every chair in the funeral home was full for both of them. And there was a steady stream of people in between. The funeral was last Monday. It was sad and lovely as only a big Catholic funeral in a very old church can be. The entire front half of the church on both sides was full of his family. The rest of the pews were pretty full, too, of friends of L’s as well as friends of all of his kids. The priest did well with the sermon. He knew L a bit, and it was obvious that he listened well as the kids talked about their dad as they planned the service. The hymns were some those that L chose…Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, Here I Am. Hard ones, good ones. We all cried as we sang, of course.
After the service we were well-fed by the ladies of the church while we gathered to talk and remember L and honor his life as we slipped gently back towards our own. Funeral hotdish, more salads made with whipped cream than you could count and lots and lots of cake to sweeten our memories.
So, we are moving back into life as usual. Back to work, back to planning this next big event of ours which now assumes a bittersweet edge. R is writing lots of funeral thank you notes as I am collecting RSVPs from wedding invitations. Again, the circle of life, beginnings and endings. I am so glad I got to know L, even for a little while. We are who we are at least in part because of who we come from, because of those who pass before us and those who are connected to us. For both of us now the generation before is gone on and we stand in the front of the line. But we’ll stand there together, he and I, remembering those we are connected to…and it will be ok.