The flowers were beautiful at my mother’s funeral. Her casket was dark oak, very plain, as she had requested. The service was very personal with granddaughter’s doing the readings and a very nice, young, enthusiastic priest presiding over the ceremony. The “Prayers of the Faithful” were read by my aunt and were very specific to our family. At the burial service, a cold wind came in but it did not rain. In fact, the weather of the day was very much like my mother, gray and calm in the morning, cold and windy in mid-afternoon, clear and sunny by late afternoon. A perfect day to celebrate her passing.
Naturally, the funeral ritual is for the living. This is a way to say a final goodbye, to celebrate (and review) the life of the person who has passed. My mother was a humble woman and I’m sure she would have been embarrassed by all the kind words. She WAS strong and giving. She never hesitated to help when she could. And she was a deeply religious person.
I realized, yet again and as I knew I would, that there were many aspects of her life for which I was not familiar. Her relationships with others, were different than her relationships within her family. This is common for all of us – we step into each role of our lives from a different set of stairs. There are so many different influences, expectations and obstacles in each role we play. Some roles are too difficult to take head on and we have to limit our time and conserve our energy – so we withdraw. We tackle the easier roles that don’t threaten to deplete us.
I am grateful that the funeral was so personal. It was a great send off for a woman we really loved, but didn’t truly know. After the reception, we had a gathering for a grandson’s birthday. We talked and laughed, watched him open his gifts and blow out his birthday candles. We took family photos. The sky was clear and the sun was nice and warm. A perfect ending.