Putting The “Fun” Into “Funeral”

, , , , , , , | Related | October 23, 2018

I’ve been told my step-great-grandmother was always… an interesting woman. Since I was young, I didn’t know her extremely well, other than that she decorated every room of her house with a theme — bunnies, cats, red-white-and-blue, old-timey western store, etc. — and that she was insanely proud of her atrocious crabcakes that would make any Marylander weep.

When she died when I was in middle school, I had no idea what was waiting. My family packed up and drove three hours south for her funeral service, not knowing what she had planned. I was raised religious, but she wasn’t the same religion, so it was the first funeral I’d ever been to that would deviate from what I had learned as the usual.

Apparently her plans started with a bluegrass gospel band playing for about an hour, followed by stories from loved ones we never knew well. Hearing about anyone at a funeral is usually tear-jerking for me, even if I never really knew them, so I wasn’t handling the service great and just wanted to leave. Eventually it was wrapped up by an old friend of hers. He was a blind, one-armed man who played the harmonica and sang Battle Hymn of the Republic. I know it’s a bit insensitive and I’m not really proud of it today, but the blind man singing, “I have seen the glory,” was more than I could take and I snickered a bit. This set off my cousins just flat-out laughing, which earned them some less-than-enthused looks while they tried to disguise it as crying.

When I talked to other family members afterward, they found it odd, too, but pretty much all of them said, “Well… that’s Mary for you.” Everyone agreed that the entire thing, including the kids laughing, was exactly what she would have wanted.

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