Gramma's Service

Memorial Table
I knew I would be sad, but I think I vastly underestimated just how much I would cry at my grandmother's funeral. It was definitely an emotionally exhausting day.

We were staying at my parent's house on Sunday night, and I'd gotten a call from my cousin Amber to see if we could pick her up for the funeral on Monday morning. It was definitely a good deal out of the way to pick her up from her brother's house in the morning, but worth it. She lives in Iowa, and I probably haven't seen her since our visit there around 2009.  After we got ready and had a brief breakfast, we drove out to get her then came back and scooped up my parents so we could go to the church.

I walked in and one of the first people I saw was Jason, my cousin Bethann's fiancee. I greeted him and asked where Beth was; he pointed her out, and she was on stage playing the piano. I think he might have suggested I should go say hi, or I might have just been already moving in that direction. I perched on the piano bench beside her, and I remember her softly saying "it doesn't even look like Gramma. They put way too much make-up on her." I was already crying; luckily, she had an extra tissue on her that she handed me.

I looked up and saw my Aunt Lynda waving at me, and I waved back, almost stunned to see her there. It was my dad's mom who had died, so I didn't expect to see my mom's sister sitting there. She was sitting next to my Grandpa, I realized. I knew my mom had mentioned that her dad would be there. It was comforting to see them there, sort of like an extra support system.

I gathered myself and went to greet other people. One of the first people I saw was my Great Aunt Betty, my grandmother's sister. She lives in Alabama, and she had been on her way to visit Gramma. Sadly, she didn't make it in time to see her before she passed, but she was able to stay in town to attend the funeral service.

I had inadvertently gotten stuck in the very front row as the services began. I'd gone up to sit beside Aunt Betty to look at a photo album with her; suddenly, 2 pages in, everything was starting. Everyone came up to pay their last respects, and a few people walked down the front row to offer condolences to everyone sitting there. So many tears. Aunt Lynda came by and gave me a hug - so, so happy she was there.  When it was time for the immediate family to go up to see her one last time, I could barely whisper "goodbye Gramma".

Now this is just my opinion, and I don't expect it to be shared by everyone in my family, but I wasn't a big fan of the sermon. My Uncle John went up first and spoke passionately about his mother's devotion to God and her regular reading of the Bible, but the pastor that followed him was very loud and a bit abrasive. His message seemed to have a strong lean towards Christianity conversion, which really didn't seem appropriate for a funeral. My grandma was a big believer in God, but she was a mild-mannered person. I feel like his approach should have been more gentle, more relevant. In either case, I'm sure Gramma would have preferred a religious service, so I think she would have been content with it overall. I just find that, personally, I don't like the delivery of the message in situations like these. I remember being equally perturbed by the wording of the religious service at my sister-in-law's wedding.  It may just be a generational thing though because both Amber and Francisco felt similarly, but my parents didn't really share the same perspective.

From there, we filed out to drive to the cemetery. Gramma was to be buried directly beside her eldest son, my Uncle Art. I believe this was my first time being in a car in a funeral procession, at least that I remember.

Francisco and my father served as a pallbearer along with my cousin David, Uncle John, and Jason.
We stayed to watch the coffin lowered into the ground.
We weren't sure if there were other plans for everyone to get together afterwards, but everyone just kind of went their own separate ways after the service. We took my parents home and grabbed our stuff then went out to lunch at Bar Louie with Amber to have a little bit of extra time with her while we were both in Indiana.

Francisco helped me put together this video in remembrance of Gramma:
video

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