Monday, April 22, 2013

She Would Have Liked This

Funerals, of course, are for the living. Those we commemorate are busy greeting the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds them, and reveling in the new bodies they've put on. Those of us at the funeral are merely throwing confetti and shouting in joy that they've graduated from earth.

Still, I think Husband's mother would have liked the celebration in her honor.

She would have liked that her three sons and all six of her grandchildren were here, crossing half the continent to honor her matriarchy. No one was prouder of family than my mother-in-law.

She would have liked that we sang old songs at both the Saturday funeral and the Sunday pre-graveside services. She would have been delighted that her least churchy son, when told that his mother had passed, hummed a few bars of "In the Garden" and requested we sing it for her. And she would have marveled that although it was not planned this way, the final hymn we sang at the Sunday morning service before meeting one last time at the graveside was "God Be With You, 'Til We Meet Again."

She would have liked the impromptu family reunion in the little country church we attended Sunday morning. Almost everyone there is a relative to Husband's family, one way or another, and she was the queen of family reunions.

She would have liked the six kinds of salads and eight delicious desserts those relatives spread before their visiting family, because food is especially healing when it is provided by loving hands.

She would have liked the garbage bag her sons wrapped around the lovely wooden box her oldest son had made to contain her ashes, and been delighted that her daughters-in-law (both of them) were outvoted by the sons who provided this wrapping because she would have hated seeing dirt on that box.

She would have liked that when it came time, those sons gathered around, and gently lowered the box to be thiiiis close, almost touching, to the ashes of her husband. After eight years apart, they were finally together again, and that seemed so natural.

All of this--the gathering, the singing, the eating, the laughing, the hugging, the remembering--all of it was for us.

But she would have liked it.

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