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Wrapping Up the Sadness

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's funny how sometimes the things that are sad really aren't so sad.

I thought that very thing several times while sitting in the funeral home in a row with all of my cousins and their spouses as the minister gave the sermon at my grandmother's funeral.

My grandmother was born in 1919. She lost her mother at the age of seven to breast cancer. She and her older sister (Elnora is named after her) were raised by her father and a huge host of extended family. She was married to my grandfather for almost sixty-five years and was 87 when she died. She had three children, seven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. She lived a long, full, wonderful life, save the last five years when she wished on a regular basis that God would take her home. She was a believer and there's no doubt in my mind that she now walks with her Lord in a body that's whole with a mind that's sharp.

How could I NOT be happy for her?

I'm sad for my grandfather. I'm sad for my father and my aunt and uncle. But the truth is that the woman we all loved left us many years ago. What we buried was simply the vessel.

As I sat at the funeral home yesterday morning I marveled at the fact that Emmitt was the happiest I can remember him being. He laughed and bucked and grinned at everyone he saw. I watched face after face of my grandmother's elderly friends pass by her coffin only to look up and be greeted by his smiling face. I'm glad that we took him with us, even if he left for the baby sitter's before the actual funeral. I watched Elnora cling to my father, somehow able to know that something wasn't quite right. She cried. She never really knew my grandmother so I can only imagine that she was crying for my father. We asked her if she was sad and with the saddest face I've seen on her she simply nodded her head yes. She's two, but she knew that her "ba" was hurting.

When it dawned on me that my parent's pastor was speaking at the funeral I wondered at the fact that just as he was now shepherding a loved one out of this life, it's not even been five months since his sister-in-law shepherded Emmitt into his.

Life ends and life begins. It's what you do in between that counts.


  1. Blogger sara | 3:57 PM |  

    I know what you mean about things not always being sad.

    My grandpa died last June, and even though the car accident that cause it was initially unexpected, he had been hospitallized for a long 10 weeks when he finally passed on.

    And while it felt very unfair to us all left behing, we had so many good stories and funny pictures that I really laughed more than cried the day of his funeral.

    I learned things I never knew about him from my aunt's eulogy... but they were things that made me laugh and smile and feel even closer to him. It was the first time I got to meet my cousin's new baby.

  2. Blogger Heather | 3:53 PM |  

    I can completely understand. My great-grandmother died a few weeks ago, peacefully in her sleep at the ripe age of 92.

    There weren't many people there (she outlived most of her friends, and her family is small... there's only seven of us, and two husbands. (long story.)

    Elisabeth was charming, running around and laughing, and being a beautiful little girl, as always.

    I told my husband that there is the laughter of babies at my funeral. I can't imagine anything more wonderful to have as a legacy than happy, laughing babies instead of sobbing.

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