The Minister didn’t know her that well. It’s OK — it happens all the time at funerals, I’m sure. He talked about her patience, her talent, — and then he said how she, as a Mother “had to get stern, and tough, sometimes…” That was the red flag.

So I asked her son, my cousin, “Tell me about those times your Mom got stern and tough,” because maybe her son knows things I don’t know about her. He said yes — sometimes she would get really tough, and say in a little bit louder than her normal soft tone, “Go to your room.”

OK. That’s what I thought.

The funeral procession was interesting. She moved about 35 miles and two towns away from the home town. So the funeral service was in her new city, but she wanted to be buried back in the home town. Who could blame her? Her husband and daughter are there, my Mom, and their brother and Mom and Dad are there. The town is cute enough, and the cemetery sits on top of this huge hill, and looks down on valley after valley — amazing. Definition: Breathtaking and peaceful. (I should buy a plot there. Scary.)

The funeral procession had to go through these 30 some odd miles, through lots of red lights, some highways, and one-lane roads. Some people pulled their cars over and stopped as we passed. Others ignored us. Some stopped and saluted us. Some people passed the cars that were pulled over, and others tried to merge into the processional as the highway narrowed down to two lanes. As we got closer to my home town, the number of cars who stopped and pulled over increased. Small-town manners.

One car, merged right in front of us, and had to stay in the one-line processional for about 12 miles (and enjoyed cruising through the red lights). I think my Aunt enjoyed his company. She was like that. To call her tolerant is the least you could call her. My boys were in the backseat calling this guy “a cheater.”

My husband and my brother were both Pall Bearers. As they got into place, I suddenly realized that I have no idea, to this day, who the Pall Bearers were for my Mom’s funeral. My brother and husband, later, said the same thought came to him at the same time.

So odd for my two remaining Aunts and two Uncles — watching some of the 3 younger sibblings go before them. And I can just imagine my Grandma — up there, or wherever she is. “Where did I go wrong? I thought I had all these kids raised, and now they’re all coming back home.”

joyce1.gifHer daughter, Joyce, who died at 18. Her Mother begged her not to go out that night — the roads were too bad.

Almost two years later, I am surprised to find that I am doing very well. I stood at my Aunt’s graveside, one grave over from my Mom’s, and I was OK with it. Yes, I am very, very hurt that she’s not here to share memories with us, and my youngest will not know her. But, I have made my peace with it — as much as can be expected. I think my relatives were surprised by that — after seeing what a blubbering mess I was two years ago. I’m surprised. I had no idea how much the human heart could break. I had no idea how much the human heart could heal.

Feeling peaceful. Feeling held by something so mysterious.

Read more, Read more: Seasons
and Saying Goodbye

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8 comments to “Processing”
  1. Hi Suze..
    Your memories of Helen really bring back memories to me. How well I remember the night Joyce was killed.
    Helen never let her health get in the way of anything she set her mind on doing. — like driving up here every month for quilt club.
    I’ll carry good memories of the time spent with Helen and your

  2. Kathy,
    So glad to hear from you — and it’s hard to remember Mom without thinking of you, which I do often. Such happy times. After the funeral, we walked uptown so Alan could buy the boys some ice cream, but your shop was already closed. It was awesome to be home — well at least, partway home. Maybe I’ll see you at the luminary run!
    Lots of love,

  3. Pingback: Saying Goodbye - susiej

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