I was thankful for all the menial tasks which served to keep me distracted in the days leading up to my mother-in-law’s Memorial Service. There was an awfully big part of me that dreaded the day. My best coping skill is that of avoidance, and I’ve been able to reside in denial when it came to dealing with her unexpected passing. In many ways it brought back so many emotions from the death of my own mom before the birth of my first child. Natalie was nothing short of a mother to me after my own mother died. I relived that ache all over again. As I know all too well, time will dull the ache. Somewhat. But it will never go away.
But time marched on and Wednesday dawned in the most spectacular way. After several dreary dark dismal days, the sun shown bright and the air was crisp. We all arrived early to the church to figure out seating, work out the logistics of family members who were part of the service, and of course to greet the guests. My SIL, Trish, but together a beautiful memory board beautifully decorated with pictures of Natalie through the decades. There was also a memory table filled with moments from her home. The church was filled with many many friends who loved Natalie and her family.
One such guest was Sister Immaculata, an old and dear friend of the family. She never disappoints as she shared yet another story (in her Irish accent) from her archives about a beautiful (used) crematorium urn which was lent to a family in need after their matriarch passed away. Sister Immaculata asked if they were going to cremate their loved one and then offered the use of this very fancy urn that she acquired from another family. Recycling, after all, is a most awesome way to save a few dollars. The newly bereaved family gratefully shook their head yes and accepted the urn. When Sister showed up for the funeral she was surprised to find the dearly departed dressed to the nines and lying in state in a very ornate coffin. Evidently, they weren’t as needy as was first suspected. The urn in question ended up housing a lovely floral arrangement, because as it happened, the family didn’t fully comprehend the idea of cremation. They simply accepted the urn as a parting gift, as it were. Sister Immaculata decided to leave well enough alone as she didn’t have the heart to tell them what the urn was used for nor to ask for it back.
I told the Sister that I was going to sit her down and pick her brain, as she will likely be the subject of my first book. She told me that she looked forward to it.
What I did not get a chance to share with her was that I could trump her story. For once. I had a great Aunt Annie who married Uncle George (pictured at right). At some point during their marriage, they bought side by side plots in the local graveyard, home to many other of our family members. When Uncle George passed away, he was buried there in the purchased plot. Aunt Annie’s plot sat unused next to him. Time went on and Aunt Annie married Uncle Scottie. They had many good years together, and when Uncle Scottie passed away, Annie thought to herself, what the heck, it’s paid for. So she buried Uncle Scottie next to Uncle George.
It should be noted that Aunt Annie went on to date another potential husband, Raymond, who was well into his 90’s. Raymond’s family was always a little suspicious of Aunt Annie, as they knew she had already outlived two husbands. They never married, mostly I suspect, because Aunt Annie had run out of cemetery plots. When she passed away in her 90’s, she was buried in an entirely different cemetery.
With less baggage.
I believe that I’ve inherited my frugal nature from my great Aunt Annie. A fact which makes Fiddledaddy justifiably nervous.
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. Next week I’ll actually be able to talk about the service. Here’s hoping.