Mom’s funeral was yesterday. It was rough. However, it was a lot rougher to have the house invaded by all of my relatives, many of whom I haven’t seen for 16 years – and some I’ve never met.
I am not, by any means, a people person – something I freely admit. If you want the hostess with the mostess for a bunch of strangers, go to my sister. You give me more than about 6-10 people I don’t know, and I’m going to find the nearest corner to hide in (something I bonded with T.C. over at ASBH 2006, actually, and we commiserated on at ASBH 2007). Filling my house with that many strangers, and then adding on everyone at the funeral – and there were easily 75-80 people there, most of whom I’d met once, if at all… and I was ready to throw the towel in before we even started the service.
The relatives began melting away toda – some I was ready to show the door, and some I genuinely wish could have stayed longer. A couple of my uncle’s were more like older brothers for a couple of years of my life, and it was nice to see them again, and meet my cousins. (The little girl takes after me in a lot of ways, and she and I really hit it off – I’m going to do my best to keep in touch with her; she helped me with all the decorating for the funeral, and did so with wonderful glee…)
At this point, only one maternal uncle is in the house, and my dad’s older brother and his wife. They’re all quiet, and we’ve just been idly napping and chitchatting all day. We just finished watching The Next Iron Chef (booyah! I so won – always trust your gut instinct! Never second guess!), which was full of laughter and teasing. And it occurred to me that for a lot of people, a funeral is a single day affair, maybe a few hours. I’ve been very lucky, the funerals I’ve been involved in, that they have been multi-day affairs that allow for creating new, happy memories. They’re bittersweet, because they’re of course brought on by the death of a loved one, and in this particular case, one of the most beloved. But as I was climbing the stairs, I thought about how glad I was to not have my last memories of my maternal uncles be that of an angry teenager, that I was able to teach my young cousin about how to create glitter suspensions, or just sit around and tease my dad with his brothers.
A lot of stories have been told, and a lot of new, better memories created. I think, in the end, Mom would have approved.