Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sunshine and Rain

I was going to post my opinion, conviction, feeling, idea, mind, notion, persuasion, position, sentiment, or view. However you want to say it. But, instead, I decided to write a little about the day... mundane? Oh, I don't know if my family can or ever will be considered mundane.

I went to my first LDS funeral a couple of weeks ago. It was kind of what I expected. It was similar to going to sacrament meeting minus the sacrament part and adding a few more emotions in, there were tears, but quite a bit more laughter than I usually have heard in sacrament meeting (although there was one ward I went to and laughter was a regular occurrence, it was fun).

I am not a funeral aficionado, and have been to 2 viewings and 3 funerals. Four funerals counting today. The first funeral I think was pretty non-denominational. I was dating a guy who was friends with two sisters. I, too, became friends with the younger of the two and shared her journey (on the sideline) of her mother's fight with cancer. It went from ovarian, to lung, to finally brain. It was very, very difficult to watch, especially with how young we all were. My friend was only 18 at the time and hadn't even graduated from high school. I remember how hard it was on her to lose her mom and couldn't even put myself in the position to have an inkling of what she was feeling.

The second was for my mom tried to make it more of an Irish wake and make it more of a celebration than anything. There was music at the viewing, a lot of tears, and even more laughter and reminiscing. I guess with all the the amazing things she did and being on this earth for 80+ years, touching as many lives as she did, there were hours and hours of visiting. Although, I was there for the whole thing, I didn't go into the room until maybe the last 15 minutes. I couldn't bear to go in and look at her, it made the whole thing too real. The funeral... I don't think I have ever been so full of sorrow and pain. There was a lot of music, singing, stories, and uplifting messages. There were well over 100 people there and it was so amazing to see and hear how she touched so many lives, mine included. I will put in here that she was probably the most amazing woman I have ever met. Very multifaceted in her hobbies and her personality. The only constant with her were her Diet Cokes with Lemon and later Diet Dr Peppers and her love of God and having given her life to his work. I don't really put out my religious views or show off my spirituality too much these days, but I will say, she is the only person on the planet that has shown me first hand and proven to me that there is a God and I have never nor will I ever doubt that. The religion part is a different story but that is for another time.

Six years later, I come to my third and fourth funeral in a month's time. My friend Whitney's dad died from complications due to diabetes and prostate cancer. He has had diabetes for years, but was just recently diagnosed with cancer. It went fast. I went to Coalville to support her knowing how difficult is was for my other friend to lose a parent, it can't be any easier just because he was older. I know her mom, I love her kids like an aunt(not quite like my own, I'd have kicked both their butts by now if I did...teenagers...blah), and I knew her dad. This is the LDS funeral I was speaking of and like I said, it was nice and I am very glad I was able to go. It was great hearing some of the stories people were sharing about the grumpy, old man.

Today was the funeral for my Uncle James. I don't want to say I enjoyed it, but as far as funerals go... well, this one wasn't bad. I hate that the family got together under the circumstances we did, but I really enjoyed it. I feel that as we grow older and start our own families, we tend to move on and focus on said family. I feel that since starting my family, I want to spend more time with extended family. Sounds strange I'm sure, but, I was pretty good friends or close to each of them at one point in my life or another and I am so sad that I wasn't able to maintain. I am very glad that we are starting to connect a little more (via facebook... it's a love/hate relationship lol). It's nice we have the internet to help us stay in contact when most of us are all over the country. It was so weird to have met my cousin Chris's wife, Jonelle, over facebook and visit with her that way before we finally met face to face for the first time yesterday. I have only met half of my cousin's kids and not in 6 years. I loved meeting these kids and seeing the genetics at work and to meet their cute personalities.

I hope I can get some pictures of today so I can post them, but of course I didn't bring my camera. I hope I can talk my cousins into sharing theirs.

Today was a gorgeous, sunny, not too hot nor too cold kind of day. Linus and I drove to Brigham to the cemetery for the interment of Uncle James ashes. My Granny, Grandpa Frank, and Amelia are all buried next to each other and James was going to be placed next to them. Walking up to the burial site gave me much to think about. Watching all of the kids running around and playing made me smile but being so close to my Granny today, brought back a lot of painful memories.

We all stood around the urn the James ashes were placed into. TJ made this ceramic jar with seashells on it. I don't know how long ago, and it's not quite what I would have put him in, but we like to keep things in the family and it was very nice that he was able to stay in something TJ made. Uncle Mac led the service which consisted more of stories. I always love hearing the stories. Some are sad but most make me laugh. I found out today that my Aunt Amelia died from a chocolate allergy following surgery. I had no idea! I learned today that my Uncle James begged my Granny to make Mac stop..."what's he doing?" "He's breathing. Can't you make him stop?" HAHA! So very sibling-esque. We heard about the engagement of Granny to Frank (I call him Frank because he died 8 months after I was born and I didn't know him. He isn't Grandpa to me. He's just Frank). I learned he was born in the back of a Jeep. Mac made a pretty funny joke about Tom marrying Connie and James marrying Lynne. He talked about Frank marrying both sets at the First Baptist Church in Brigham. I also learned that people are very forgiving of the dead. Mac made mention that Frank was a bully when he was a young adult. From what I understand...he was a bully till the day he died. I guess it's not nice to speak ill of the dead.

After we prayed, James and his urn were placed in the hole and we were free to grieve and pay our last respects. It was very hard for me to see these family members whom I love grieving so much. I am so glad I was able to be there to give my support and be a shoulder. My cousin, Shiloh, took pictures and I hope I am able to get a copy of them, there look like there were quite a few good ones. I think my favorite, although very heart wrenching, was my youngest cousin, Skylar crouched and his brother, Chris, hugging him. I think I did a good job in not crying until I saw Skylar take his shoes off and bow to his sensei. That really got to Shiloh, my mom and I. James practiced martial arts for 20 years.

On a funny note, my niece, Mikayla was running around picking up rolly-pollies and really wanted to share them with my cousin, Mackenzie.She was scared to thinking the bugs would scare the "fancy lady." Bethany asked her what made her so fancy and Mikayla responded with "everything about her!"

Afterwards, we went to the First Baptist Church where Mac had dinner planned for us. How fun for all of us to spend this time together. We used to get together every Thanksgiving and Christmas at my Grandma's house in Mantua. We hadn't done that in over 10 years. Mac planned a pretty traditional Thanksgiving meal with a few family favorites included, green onions in lieu of my dad and sweet tea for all. Mikayla was just in awe that this was her family. "These people are my family?? All of these people are part of my family??" It was very cute. After lunch of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits, etc...I went home, and the beautiful sunny day had turned to rain, and got ready for the memorial service that was happening the next day.

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