Funerals are a funny thing.
People and flowers and laughter and tears and mourning and celebrating and chaos and peace.
And he would have loved this best, because family is together.
We attend the viewing, the funeral, the burial. My dad, Jenni and Juli, and my cousin share memories. There are so many. They do a great job.
It is hard to see my dad choked up.
The burial is in the middle of Northern Michigan woods in the middle of land that once was my great-grandmother’s farm. There are so many mosquitoes that the sound of hands slapping skin overcome the pastor’s prayer. And my Aunt Dawn sings a song she wrote for him so beautiful that we are moved to tears.
We see cousins and aunts and uncles and friends of the family. God has shared them with us to show us we are loved, supported, comforted. We hear, “I’m sorry for your loss,” over and over, and I think, “it may be my loss, but it certainly isn’t his.”
My grandpa is finally reunited with his parents, 12 brothers and sisters, his wife, many friends, and two of his children.
My uncle Dwayne died when grandpa was in his 90s. He turned to me and said, “No one should have to bury his children, and I have buried two.”
He is right.
There is stress and chaos, but also such a peace as we lay him to final rest. Peace knowing that he lived life to the fullest- drinking coffee, playing golf, and loving on friends, family, and strangers. Peace knowing he is with the greatest lover of souls. Peace knowing that he knew how much I loved him.
Between events we have a house full of kiddos- my nieces and nephews tearing down the halls chasing each other and being chased by my dad, their grandpa. Things are messy and turned over and beautiful and just how they should be.
There is something magnificently poetic in watching my father say goodbye to my grandpa as he becomes grandpa to my nieces and nephews – watching my father say goodbye to his parent, as my sisters become parents.
We drive up to my aunt’s farm after the funeral. It is beautiful. restful. a place to catch your breath. It also screams of my uncle’s absence. How do you occupy this land that was his without feeling his loss?
How do you do that?
There is laughter and food (always food) and connecting with cousins- from Michigan, from the east coast, from Texas (ew)- we only see occasionally.
We are with family. Grandpa is loving this moment.