Last week I went to yet another funeral. It was for my great Aunt. She was 95, had lived a full life, filled with tons of love of her family. She was my grandmothers sister and my memories of her have always been fond ones. She was a loving lady. She was buried with her husband. Like literally, her husbands urn was in the casket and buried with her. It was so romantic, you know, once you got your mind past the ‘two in the casket’ thing. It really was a celebration of her life. Lots of laughs and fellowship with family that I haven’t seen in decades. Which is a sad reality now a days.
This was my second funeral in two weeks.
The first one was a friend.
He was so young. He was a father and a husband and a son. He was a flawed man, as we all are, but recently his flaws were more apparent, and sadly even I was guilty of judging him. He was also the reason I am where I am and with who I am today. So I am very grateful to him.
But in death I believe that since the person is no longer here to defend themselves, we can no longer judge or speak harshly of them. Their past transgressions, although note worthy and probably worthwhile to selfishly hold on to, are indeed transgressions and personally undefendable by the person who passed away, and therefore I let it go. There’s no point in holding on to judgment that can’t be resolved anyway. I learned that with the death of my dad.
My dad was probably one of the more flawed people in my life, but he loved me, and I loved him. Our relationship was very strained in the years before his death, and since his passing was very sudden I wasn’t able to tell him that I remember singing in the car with him, or riding horses with him and that look in his eye when he was around them. Or waking up early, because I only learned the value of sleeping in once I became a teenager, and an older teenager at that, and hearing him greet me with “Hey kid!” while he sipped what was probably his third cup of Nabob instant coffee, with milk and sugar, reading Horse and Rider or Western Horse, smoking his Players Light king size cigarette. He’ll never know that I remember he made sure I was on time for my roller skating lessons when it was his weekend to drop me off, or that certain Nitty Gritty Dirt Band songs still make me cry. Even after all these years. That forcing me to go on the Ghoster Coaster would fuel a lifelong love of roller coasters that I have instilled in my daughter. Or he made sure I always got a call on my Birthday.
One of my few regrets is that I didn’t pick up the phone June of 2012. But that again is on me.
I guess what I’m getting at is, in death what matters, in my flawed opinion, is the people who loved you and will continue to love you, even if you’re flawed, in death.
Rest well Auntie Jean, Andrew and Dad.