Today is All Souls' Day; it is also the day of my Grandmother's funeral.
The service was lovely. It took place in the funeral home and, like with my Grandpa Jack, my Dad and I did the readings (I am 3 for 3 at family funerals this year since Rachel and I read at my Aunt Flo's funeral in March). For those of you who are into this sort of thing, my Dad read two pieces - 1 John 3: 1-2 and Revelations 21: 1-7. And I had the good fortune to read my Grandma's favourite passage, 2 Corinthians 4: 7-18. I plan to write more on this when I have a clearer head, since I feel that reflecting on this passage because of her love of it was my Grandma's gift to me.
My Mom's side of the family was out in full force today - My Uncle Sergio brought my Nonna (Sally would have come but for Sierra being home sick), and Aunt Pat, Fred and Leah came all the way from the GTA. They've known my Grandma since they were kids (Serge and Pat were 12 and 9, respectively, when my parents got married) and they'd always loved her. My family - both sides - is just so awesome and I am so blessed to have them around.
I held up pretty well -- Grandma was nearly 93, after all, and she'd been really sick - but I shed a few tears as the priest shared some reflections (and as I'm writing this, if I'm being honest). My grandparents were a fun-loving pair, and one habit (that I'd forgotten about, actually) was how they'd say goodbye. They never wanted to see us go -- we lived a 3 hour drive away -- but they knew that visits couldn't last forever. To wish us fair travels and to make our final memory a happy one, they come outside and pretend to push the car to get it started. Then, they'd either stand in the driveway or (in inclement weather) in the front window and wave until they could no longer see us. I remember craning my neck as far as I could so that I could catch final glimpses of them wishing us a safe journey. It's something so simple and silly, but it was so them.
We had many, many years together and I am so very thankful. I also believe that we'll see each other again, and I am so glad that neither of them are suffering any longer. But I will still miss them very much because it's never easy to lose ones you love. They always LOVED my Aunt Flo, too, so I like to imagine that the three of them are hanging out together tonight.
It's been a really long day (and year, frankly) and I am sorry for the maudlin tone of this post. I know that loss and suffering are unavoidable and can strengthen us immeasurably, but is it wrong that I wouldn't mind a long break before losing any other close family members?
And as a final note, I will share with you the gospel passage: Luke 2: 1-20. It's a gospel passage that I can recite by heart because I have personally had to read it aloud so many times...at Christmas. It's the Birth of Jesus. I'll leave you to ponder why that was proclaimed at my Grandma's funeral. You wouldn't be the only ones puzzled - we all looked at each other when the reading started, thinking "did he hit the wrong page by accident?". There were some interesting reasons, though...