Friday, August 28, 2015

Funerals for the living

Today was my grandma's funeral.  Sadly, we weren't able to make the trip back to attend.  In many ways, it made today extra hard.

As I thought about what we were missing all day long, I got to thinking...

We are raised to believe that funerals are to pay respect to the one who passed away.  When you think about it, why would they really care about the kind of funeral they have?  We think we care what kind of funeral we will have, the color of coffin, the flowers in a spray and all the other details we deliberate over.

I think, that funerals are for the living.  Funerals are for those left behind.  It's a time to reflect, remember, process and prepare your mind to move on with one less loved one. Funerals are important.  I feel strange not being able to be at my grandma's funeral to enjoy all those fond memories spoken of and say one last goodbye.

I couldn't just let this day pass without doing something special in honor of my grandma.  Something to set this day apart for all the rest.  So, after we got through with the hospital today, I ran up to the nursing home where a friend of mine is.

His name is Reed.  I have been a housekeeper to him and his wife for the past three years.  He has always been so kind to me.  When he was in better health, he raised chickens and always sent me off each week with a dozen eggs.  He made plum jam for me and shared his tips on growing the biggest tomatoes.   He has been on hospice for a couple of months and since his wife is not in good health either, they decided to put him in the nursing home for 5 days to give his wife a respite.

Reed was not happy.  In fact, he is really sad.

I haven't been able to visit my grandma much since she has lived in a nursing home.  I often wished I lived closer because I would have spent everyday visiting her so she didn't have to be alone.  I thought that visiting Reed was the best way to make this day special and remember my grandma.

My visit with Reed was moving.  He is so sad.  He broke down because he feels like such a burden.  He is lonely and sad.  My heart broke for him.  He cried and cried.  It was the saddest thing to just hold him while he wept in loneliness.  I hugged him while he wrung out his heart in my hands.

When he calmed down some, I packed him up in the wheelchair and took him out to the courtyard with two Maple donuts, his favorite treat!

He sat in the warm sun and savored those donuts and soaked up the sun.  He seemed much calmer and relaxed.  After a few minutes, he nodded off and I enjoyed a few moments in quiet while I contemplated on all the great times I had with my grandma.

It is so sad to think that a wonderful and amazing generation has quietly slipped away.  She saw so many things in this world in her near century of living.  She was talented and set out to accomplish all the things she ever wanted in life.  She had a love for learning, her grand kids and of course music.
My grandma, me- at the piano and Shelbie  with my dad singing some of my grandma's favorite songs. 

She will be greatly missed.  In my sadness, I thought of the great reunion she is enjoying on the other side of this life.  


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