We laid my brother to rest today. Mother nature chose to honor us with our first measurable snow, with just enough to make the roads a bit messy while heading to the cemetery. For a cold, snowy day, there were a surprising number of people who showed up for the graveside service. My former sister in law was there with her son, my nephew. I hadn’t seen her in many years since her divorce from my younger brother. But at times like these, as we stood there and hugged in the cold, I found that there is no “ex” family. She was there to see my mom & dad and comfort them over the loss of their son.
As I helped my mother to the where the service was held, her hands were cold as ice. As people sometimes do at these times, she forgot her gloves at home. I gave her my gloves and held her hand as we said goodbye. My father seemed a bit dazed and confused. It was a somber affair. And then just like that, it was quickly over. His last 6 months from diagnosis to death—it just happened too fast for me. We headed to the VFW hall where his friends put together a lovely lunch.
It was great to see all of my family together again, nieces, nephews and other family members who had moved away and hadn’t been seen in a while. Lots of hugs, and I got to meet my 6 month old niece, Clara. I watched as Clara was passed around from person to person, such a sweet baby who kept looking at everyone with big brown eyes. Babies are wonderful at times like these. It’s funny. I remember Clara’s mother, Amanda at my grandparents funeral 33 years ago.
At most memorials or funerals, there comes a time when everyone has a good laugh as they share a memory of a loved one. Today was no exception. My niece, Amanda, provided the perfect way to celebrate her father’s life. My brother loved to party with his friends, and he loved his beer. Amanda brought in a life size cut out of her father, with a can of beer attached to his hand with velcro.
Looks real, doesn’t it? Mark’s many friends gathered around him and posed for one last picture as we all giggled and laughed. Yes, it was a good day to celebrate life.
Thank you for your prayers and comments over this past week.