Just back from the funeral. No post tonight. I’ll do it tomorrow.
OK, it’s tomorrow, I’m rested, and evidently I’m living in the future. It’s tomorrow? I took this photo with my cell phone from the front entrance to the funeral home. I had stepped outside with Cindy and her brother-in-law Gary while they each had a cigarette. I thought that the barn made a good picture, and when Gary said something along the lines of, “You can’t get much more Indiana than that,” I wasn’t sure if he meant the barn or the transmission repair shop beside it…or maybe both. So I didn’t crop the shop out of the picture completely.
I have to say that Chris’ funeral service was different from any other I have attended. For one thing, and perhaps the most memorable thing, was that it was long. It ran somewhere between one and a half to two hours long. That was just the service, the family gathered at 10 a.m., the viewing was from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and we went to the cars for the drive to the cemetery around 3 p.m. After a brief grave-side ceremony we repaired to a church for a meal. I’m nt sure what we left Greenfield, but it was starting to get dark when we drove through Indianapolis with another hour on the road ahead of us. It was a long day.
Back to the funeral service. The first new thing (for me) was that Chris’ companion Art attended from his room at the hospice in Minnesota via Skype. The minister started the ceremony with a prayer and read the obituary from the newspaper. Then he turned it over to people who wanted to speak.
Lori, Chris’ daughter, started by talking about her mother’s life and the her family. When she was finished we could see Art lay down as if exhausted. Next was Greg, Chris’ oldest surviving son, and he talked about his mother’s life and his relationship with her. Greg was followed by Christopher, Chris’ youngest son, who talked about Chris and her influence on his life. Many things can be said about the siblings, but a penchant to be terse is not one of those things. It’s as if each felt the need to explain Chris and her life from their individual perspectives, almost like the forward to a biography they were writing. A biography might be a good project for them.
Anyway, Adam, Christopher’s son then sang a song. I’m not sure if it is one that he composed. I don’t keep current with Christian songs, though I like many of the older spirituals. Adam did an excellent job. Another of Chris’ grandchildren, Shannon, spoke via telephone (another funeral first for me) about her relationship with her grandmother. Then Chris’ sister Ann spoke briefly about family relationships.
By this time I was pretty uncomfortable sitting on the folding chair, and was having a hard time concentrating. I believe that the minister spoke next, talking about his relationship with the family, specifically Lori and Greg.
Did I learn anything new about Chris? I learned some things about her earlier life. I also learned that the story Chris told me about how she met Art was completely different from the story her kids related. The story I heard was pretty straightforward, while the story I heard yesterday was almost myth-like involving a dream, an eventual spiritual awakening, and it casts Art in a very different light. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. Most of our memories lie somewhere between reality and fiction. At least my memories do.