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Goodnight Stella

August 9, 2010

I don’t even remember where I learned the rule to not start out a paragraph with the word “I”, but I am breaking the rules tonight. I am a rebel.

I am a flawed human being. I try to do right, but sometimes what I think is right may not jibe with society’s rules of right. I don’t think of myself as an overtly religious person. I admit it, I don’t attend church. Matter of fact, the last time I think I set foot in a church was for my Grandma Deany’s funeral. It was a Rite of Christian Burial. The whole nine yards, if you will, for a Catholic who has passed on. I don’t know if it was the heat of the  moment or the fact that Grandma Deany would turn flips in her grave knowing I had attended a Funeral Mass without confession, but whatever it was, I sought out Father Black and begged him for absolution so that I wouldn’t be a sinner at her funeral.

After all of that, I’m still not certain what I believe. But I know that tonight when my other grandma passed away and no arrangements were made for a man of God to speak at her funeral, it didn’t seem right to me. Maybe it was conditioning on my part; I’m sure others would say it was the work of the Lord, and others may say it was just tradition calling to me. But, in the last hours, after all other arrangements were made, I still felt something was missing. And it was then that people I barely knew, answered the call.

I will admit, I don’t know what my Grandma French’s wishes were for that last moment before we put her in the ground. Maybe if it weren’t such a taboo subject, I would have asked. But nobody really wants to start a conversation with “So, what do you want to happen when you die?” I can only assume since she had a preacher give a few words at her husband’s funeral, that she would have wanted the same. So, I went against my father’s wishes and contacted someone to do that tonight, after all the other arrangements had been made.

For the second time in my life, I’m left with guessing at what my grandma wanted. You would have thought I would have learned from the lessons from the first grandma passing, but obviously I did not. Can I chalk it up to being human and that it is certain that humans fail? If I followed the Catholic faith more, possibly I could see a priest and be forgiven of all my sins, and able to start anew.

But neither seems completely right. After years in Catholic faith, I learned about a place between Heaven and Hell, where the people who weren’t entirely deserving to go to either, spent their time until it was decided otherwise.

When I was younger, this place called Purgatory seemed scary. As I get older, it just seems like another name for Earth.

I hope, Grandma French, that I have done what you wanted. I tried, and I hope that for once, I did not fail.


9 Comments leave one →
  1. Dionne Baldwin permalink
    August 9, 2010 11:52 pm

    Oh sweetie it’s your writing and some of the best writing I’ve ever had the privilege of reading has started with I, and or but…something I was told never to start a sentence or paragraph with.

    It sounds as though either you and Grandma had some rough spots at times or you are very hard on yourself. Either way it’s your details and it’s private but your heart was definitely in the right place and you just wanted to respect her wishes. If I had a granddaughter that had put that much thought into my last wishes I would be looking on her with tears of flattery.

    You are a very sweet and considerate rebel. And I am sorry for your loss.

    • August 10, 2010 10:06 am

      A sweet and considerate rebel. I like that. Thank you, Dionne, thank you.

  2. August 10, 2010 11:31 am

    So sorry for your loss. Funerals are for the living, not the dead. You need to honor her and say goodbye to her in the way that feels right for you and your family – there’s no failure in that.

    • August 10, 2010 11:49 am

      I wonder if I should tell my dad before I show up at the cemetary with a preacher. Maybe he won’t notice…LOL

  3. sayitinasong permalink
    August 10, 2010 11:55 am

    You cn only do what your heart tells you to…and I’m sure your grandmother appreciates the thought and the sentiment- whatever her wishes. A beautiful post.

  4. August 10, 2010 3:23 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing someone is difficult enough. When my passed away 5 years ago at 68 from a 24 year battle with cancer, my dad and I had to make all the arrangements the next day. We picked a plot under a tree on a hill in the town where we lived – my mother hated sitting in the sun. At the cemetery my dad says to me, “I know you always wanted to be buried with Mommy and me…”, then he bought me a plot right next to my mom’s. My husband thought it was morbid and I thought it was sweet.
    May your grandmother rest in peace.

  5. August 10, 2010 5:28 pm

    Sorry to hear about your grandmother.

    This is a great post that raises some major personal and social issues. You are so right about the taboo about talking about it beforehand and that has created huge issues just when the family is least able to deal with them. The bottom line is that funerals are for the living not the dead and you were right to do what you thought was appropriate.

  6. August 13, 2010 3:25 am

    Rules are made to follow only.

  7. August 13, 2010 12:13 pm

    Thank you all so much for reading and baring with me during a rough summer. Thank you for your kind words. They definitely make me smile on days that doesn’t seem possible.

    Now let’s get back to laughter!

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