A very real family funeral! My 2-year old great-nephew and I surprise each other.
| The 'Fun' in Funeral Sandy tossed and turned; sleep was impossible. In the morning, she had to attend her mother's funeral. The entire process; the illness, the death, the visitation, and now the impending funeral seemed to be a slow motion struggle. She'd been slogging and slipping through mud in skates. In a pair of stilettos, she'd teetered and tottered up a steep rocky mountain. Her breathing and her pulse were so deliberate, so steady, so loud. Words from her prepared eulogy echoed and skittered in her brain, just as they always had before any school speech or project she'd ever delivered. Mom had liked to tease her that she'd heard it all as Sandy practised in her sleep.Are you listening to me now, Mom? Have I said enough , or too much? I suppose the audience will be a polite captive one. Is a funeral heckler even possible? I'll probably cry. At least you'll understand my blubber-speak. Sandy had a plan. The eulogy was typed just in case her hubby, Paul, was asked to read it. He'd reassured her that he could decipher her smudged scrawl, but sometimes she couldn't recognize a word or phrase. Paul had also offered to be a translator should her weeping speech sound too garbled. With a sigh, Sandy abandoned the pretense of sleep and walked out to her desk. So many memories were clamouring to be noticed and mentioned; perhaps she needed to edit the eulogy. A little tweak couldn't hurt. Sandy smiled to herself. She'd purposely used a night light so as not to disturb anyone. This brought back memories of her mother worrying about Sandy reading at her bedroom window by the glow of a street lamp. It had become a nightly game. Would Mom catch her supposedly straining her eyes, or would she be nestled in her bed pretending to sleep? Finally, morning dawned. It was 'f' day: 'f' for funeral, 'f' for feelings, 'f' for farewell. Sandy chose to wear a dress which in itself was unusual, but this was going to be an anything-but-normal day. Her daughters hadn't been too awed by the vision of their mother not attired in jeans. They'd laughingly advised her to change her panties or stop bending over. Since this was a newly purchased dress and Sandy had recently endured knee surgery which made kneeling or any graceful movement stiffly painful, she opted to don a more muted pair of underwear. She also planned not to bend at the funeral. Arriving at the church, Sandy realized her niece's dread had materialized. Mourners had formed a long line to greet family members and offer their condolences. The niece had referred to this as a receiving line and she was prophetic. Sandy didn't mind chatting with people, in fact, she enjoyed it. These people wanted to hug though and Sandy would be on the receiving end. Hugging could be so awkward, especially with non-relatives. Who approaches who? Where do the arms go, over or under the other set of limbs? Should I try the one arm over and one arm under manoeuver? There's no time to waver. It requires a split- second reaction. Going into a hug, Sandy never knew what to expect. Some hugs seemed too long. Bear hugs could be bone-jarring lung-crushing ordeals. Was she meant to pat a back, or rub a shoulder? Jewellery, buttons, zippers, or even perfume could be uncomfortable in close contact. She really prayed there wouldn't be air-kissing. One careless move and she'd be planting one somewhere; a cheek, a neck, an ear, hopefully, not the lips. During the funeral service, Sandy needn't have worried about exposing herself. Every time she rose from her seated position in the front pew, she was startled by her aunt who would reach forward and tug down Sandy's hem. This is the beauty of family. They have your back or quite literally cover your backside. Sandy managed to ascend and descend the few steps to the pulpit without stumbling. As anticipated, she shed a few tears during her eulogy, but it sounded like her mother-tongue, English; her husband wasn't needed to translate. She was certain that everyone heard the tinkling from Mom's charm bracelet as her hands trembled. The microphone was surprisingly sensitive. Relieved that her speech had been delivered without a hitch, Sandy approached her weeping younger sister seated in the other front pew. They became entangled in an emotional embrace; Mom's charm bracelet was snagged in some sibling hair. Sandy hadn't lost her touch. She could still make her sister cry. With the funeral service finished, it was time for the traditional "f's" of 'food' and 'fellowship'. People congregated at tables and chairs set up in a large central room in the church basement. Sandy took this opportunity to back into an empty side room with an open door. Thinking she was alone and free to bend in an unladylike manner, she stretched to stuff papers into her purse on the floor. Hunched over, Sandy was surprised by a sweet cheerful voice shouting exuberantly, "Hi Sandy!" Startled, she raised her head to see her two-year old great-nephew, Conner, leap up from behind a small table with both of his arms in the air. He'd been hiding; lying in wait for a suitable victim. During her instinctive body-straightening, Sandy's skull connected with the door's very solid doorknob. She saw a delighted Conner jumping up and down; synchronized with her throbbing head. Stumbling with her tears, Sandy tried to collapse on the nearest chair. In her distress, she inadvertently flashed her laughing family and Conner, for a second time. Did you witness this Mom? I put the spectacle in your respectable service, but Conner put the 'fun' in 'funeral'. 957 words