Funerals are never easy.
I have been to a few. Not as many as some people. Definitely more that I wish.
I went to my grandparents funerals in June and then September. Because the funerals were held where they grew up (St. Louis) yet lived in Pittsburgh for over 50 years the family held a Memorial Service in November for their friends and our family.
I am not going to lie-it wasn't easy. Even though they lived full lives (93 and 94 years old). Even though they both were not well for years.
But-is it ever?
There were bright spots amongst the sadness:
Family I had not seen in years came. I'm the oldest grandchild so I knew them all (even if I was a child the last I saw them).
I got to revisit memories that had long since been buried.
I shocked some people at my memory. I knew who neighbors of my great-grandmother were-and asked about their children (all my age). I remembered the woman who helped take care of my great-grandma--even if she didn't remember me at first (I had grown-a lot). I remembered many stories about her (she sued an internationally well known company because they continuously promoted men over her--men she trained. She won.) I remembered them and was able to tell my siblings and cousins all the info they ever needed to know :)
The very best part, however, was something embedded in all of the services. A time of remembrances. Rather than have someone perform a Eulogy-a life story was read about each (combined at the Memorial). Then, the people gathered were asked to speak up about their memories of them. Stories, details, anything. This was new to me--as I said, I haven't gone to many funerals-but none of them offered this. My uncle, a minister, presided over all 3 services. I know his family religion is the origin of this. I loved it. Friends, family and others spoke up.
I heard so many stories. Some I already knew. Many I didn't
Some that just reflected my grandparents personality so much we all chuckled because we could imagine the scene perfectly.
3 men who used to work with my grandfather came to the memorial.
I learned that my Grandfather created their pension from scratch-and made it 100% iron clad so the company couldn't touch or change it in any way. These men were so thankful-and said that he touched so many lives by doing this-even though those people didn't know him.
I learned my Grandma designed and (had) built a house for them-and the day it was finished-my grandfather got transferred. She never got to live in her dream house.
I learned my Dad, Uncle, Aunt and their cousins had a tomato fight in the (finished) basement of my great-grandmother's house.
There were so many stories. I need to document them.
They are gone-but memories remain. Memories I don't want to forget.
I hope, when I am gone, there are wonderful memories of me to share.