Tomorrow is Easter. A reminder that Christ died for us and was resurrected, that physical death is not the end but a new beginning. Still, we mourn those we lose. Even knowing we'll see them again one day, we miss them now.
Last weekend, a very dear member of my church family passed away. Kathy was a lovely, delightful, vibrant woman who had struggled with health issues for some time. She hadn't been to church in months due to concerns about having to use an oxygen tank. Though I hadn't seen her in a while, I find myself missing her deeply now that she's left us.
Today is her memorial service, and I find myself in a difficult position. On one hand, I feel it's right to be there, to pay my respects to her and her grieving husband, Robert. On the other, this is not how I want to remember her. I want to remember her the way she looked and talked the last time I saw her. That's a selfish attitude, I know. I hate funerals. I've been to one in fourteen years, and that was for the son of a longtime friend. I'd known the young man since he was a baby, and seeing him in the casket was unsettling. I kept picturing him as a toddler, wondering how this could have happened to someone so young. Yesterday, I saw a young couple in the courtyard, blowing bubbles with their two toddlers. One of the little ones looked just like Jeff had at that age. He was such a cutie....
My parents' funerals were hard on Collin and me. Collin was almost twelve when my dad passed away. Seeing him at the funeral parlor, Mom and I agreed he should not attend the graveside service. Collin is not one to express what's he's feeling. He keeps most of it locked up inside. I wish he would be more open, for his own good.
Some people who showed up at Dad's funeral surprised me. Neighborhood kids he'd terrorized came to say goodbye--I think they actually meant it! They were going to miss him! Most of them grew up to be decent young men. Dad, of course, would have said they turned out well because he'd been so hard to them. It couldn't possibly be their parents' efforts....
Mom's funeral was a disaster. There was nearly a confrontation between me and an unwanted "mourner"--a cousin I knew couldn't care less about my mother. She was only there to attach herself (as usual) to my mother's eldest sister. For some reason, most of the family treated Queen Bertha like she was God. (Not even close!)
Then there were the so-called family members who showed up asking if Mom had by any chance left them any insurance inheritance. This funeral was mostly people who hadn't been there for her when she was alive and needed them, but had the nerve to show up to pretend they cared that she was gone. I wanted to throw the lot of them out!
I told Collin I don't want a funeral. When Dad died, I bought four burial plots. He and Mom now occupy two of them. I have no intention of taking up residence in one of the other two. I want to to be cremated, like Sam. I don't want a memorial service. I want Collin to take the people I'm closest to to a decent restaurant (as I recall, Chuck E. Cheese has a party room) and give me a roast.
Yep, you read that right. A roast--like the old Friar's Club celebrity roasts, where friends and family get up and make jokes about the honoree. I like the Comedy Central roasts too, but the roasters there are, for the most part, just the same group of stand-up comics for every roast, who didn't really know the roastee. If I'm going to be insulted, I want to be insulted by people who actually have ammunition.
Take your best shots, guys. It will be the only time I won't be able to shoot back!