Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. ~Albert Einstein
The Hub’s grandfather was a person of some importance in Southern Maryland. He was a well known and influential politician, and so when he passed away I naturally assumed that his funeral would be large and impressive. I simply had no idea how right I was.
The first day of the services was called “Prayers”. Now, I was not raised Catholic, so this seemed a little strange to me. I guess it correlates to a wake. Granddaddy had decided that he wanted all of his services at the Catholic Church of which he was a member. It is a beautiful church in the round, with the podium in the center. And thank the blessed Mary to whom we prayed, it was air conditioned. We all gathered there an hour before the rest of the mourners were to arrive in order to say our goodbyes. And then the whole of Southern Maryland trouped in to pay their respects.
I guess the strange part for me was that the family (“The Family”) had to stand in the front pew and greet everyone after they had walked by Granddaddy. Poor Grandma – standing for 5 hours greeting people must have been tough on her. But she’s a tough Southern Woman – she never showed any strain. She reminds me of a perfectly coiffed (slightly older) Scarlet O’Hara. As God is her witness, no one goes hungry in her presence.
Granddaddy was a Knight of Columbus, so he had an honor guard standing beside him the whole time. Two men, dressed in giant feather plumed hats and capes and brandishing swords stood nearby, changing out every 15 minutes. It reminded me of British royalty.
When we actually got to the prayers section, the Knights all gathered in the front of the church and lead us in a full rosary. A FULL ROSARY. Do you even know what that is? I will tell all the non-Catholics out there. They say a prayer for every bead on that necklace full of beads. They work their way around it. After 20 minutes it was almost a Gregorian chant – everyone saying the same couple prayers over and over again. I have to admit, it left me feeling strangely peaceful.
After the actual prayers I turned around and noticed that there were more people in line to pay their respects. They were queuing up like Disneyland. I began to realize what Granddaddy had meant to the people of the county. He was a kind soul who cared for those less fortunate. He made it his goal to be of service to others. He genuinely cared for people. It dawned on me that we had lost a great man, and I am not ashamed to say that I cried for that loss.
Monday: The Funeral.