At the very end of the year last year Citygirl's hubby lost his grandmother. She was at their wedding, and they won the "Longest Married Couple" dance quite proudly. This loss has been devastating to their family, the more so because it occurred a long way from the family home. So this week, almost six months later, a formal funeral was held in their hometown. Hubby and I decided to come out to New Hampshire to celebrate her life with them.
A close as we are to New England, neither of us had ever been through Vermont or New Hampshire. The drive was absolutely breathtaking and was only about five hours long. We saw dozens of intriguing places we would love to have spent hours exploring!
We arrived in time for the service. Babygirl and Hubby had never seen a Catholic funeral, so the up-and-down kneeling was new to them, as well as the incense and the music. Their cantor had the voice of an angel: "An He will raise you up on eagles' wings, bear you on the breath of dawn; make you to shine like the the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hand." Goosebumps.
At the graveside, her children told stories of the kind of woman she was, and read poems she had written. Her grandchildren grieved. And I mourned with them, remembering afresh the loss of my own mother and grandmother.
This is, I am sure, the purpose of a funeral. It gives families a place to put their grief: A place to remember, to share, to mourn in solidarity with each other and with friends. A place to laugh over happy memories and cry for the loss of them: A place to let go.
The next day we joined the family for a "Nana" tradition: A game of mini golf with all of the grandchildren. It was silly, sunny, happy, and rediculous - perhaps the best sort of memorial a grandmother could ask for.