My Aunt came into town last weekend and helped my younger cousin with the affairs. Thank god.
The viewing and funeral were heartbreaking affairs. I mean I've had other relatives pass away before him (some beloved ones who passed away before I was born), but no one this close to me. It was sad. We were all sad.
My sister came up from Florida with her little one and stayed with my parents. It was good that she did. A babbly happy baby is good. As it turned out, I had LO babysit her cousin rather than attend the viewing and funeral. I drove my parents and my sister around during the events - although we had traffic Armageddon on Monday night and LO and I were about a half hour late getting to my parents house - the drive took 2 hours instead of 40 minutes. It was ok though, by the time we got to the funeral home in South Philly, traffic from the sports complex had thinned and the first mourners had already left the viewing.
We got to stay at the funeral home (for those of you in Philly, it's one of the Italian ones on South Broad Street) until late in the night since the owner's family was friends with my grandfather. It was open casket and there were flowers everywhere. A few of my cousins had set up a slide show of old pictures and by the end of the night we were standing around and watching the show over and over.
Relatives and old family friends kept coming up to my Mom and talking to her. I followed her around the room for most of the night, until at one point I had my Dad, who is quiet and awkward even in good situations, console her. It was heartbreaking to watch her process it all. It was heartbreaking to watch my relatives. At one point, it was overwhelming for me and I wept - straight out wept - not because of the death, but at seeing my mother and relatives so heartbroken. My other uncle consoled me as I wept and my Dad, well meaning, told me not to think so hard.
I slept for a few hours that night and got up early, and LO and I were at my parents house 30 minutes early to drive them into South Philly. I drove to the little church and school where my Mom attended as a kid right by the neighborhood where my Uncle's house is. As we were a little early, my Dad started suggesting we were parked in the wrong lot. We had this nervous disagreement for about 10 minutes while I watched another cousin wait in the lot with us. And then, thankfully, more cars came and the funeral procession appeared. Pallbearers took the casket into the church, and the funeral started. Mourners took their seats and I guided my Mom as close to the casket as she wanted. My sister and I sat close to my Mom as we took turns consoling her throughout Mass. We didn't bring enough tissues with us. In a weird way, thankfully Mass was kind of awkward, with the priest not knowing my Uncle, the third string sister (or maybe layperson) singing, the microphone giving sporadic feedback and my Uncle's best friend giving a heartfelt, but three stories too long eulogy...I think we snapped out of the sadness.
The Pallbearers carried the casket out, some of my relatives found the bathroom, we had procured a funeral flag for the car and then it was time to drive in the procession to the cemetery. It was my first time driving in one. After making a loop around my Uncle's house (it was the family home where my Mom grew up and reverted to him) and my Mom weeping, heartbreaking sobs we were off. Unfortunately a few South Philadelphians were not on their best behavior, trying to break through the procession and I had to stop myself from throw some unladylike hand gestures at them.
We made it to the suburban cemetery, with my Mom and Dad saying things like, "Ok, the plot is three lanes back from the chapel." and wondering in amazement about the trees that were so small when my grandmother was buried there 50 some years ago. The Pallbearers took the casket one last time and placed it on the family plot, where my Uncle was buried on top of my Grandfather and next to my Grandmother. Everyone was given flowers to place on the casket to say one final goodbye. A few relatives placed some flowers on nearby graves for other family members. As the cemetery priest was giving one last prayer, bagpipes were playing Amazing Grace in the distance for another funeral. The weather was beautiful and the cemetery was busy that day with at least 4 other funerals I saw just in the short time we were there.
We had a luncheon afterwards at the restaurant across the street, and everyone in the family under 45 grabbed a beer and drank it from the bottle. The restaurant is legendary as it is THE place to go after a funeral and there were three other families also having funeral luncheons that day. The room was loud, but maybe it was a good thing.
Two pieces of scuttlebutt from the funeral: 1) From talking to my relatives, it sounds like my Uncle was going to doctors nearly every week at the end and his care sounded like it was inconsistent. Another cousin told of taking care of my Uncle for six weeks when he hurt his foot. His daughter told me he was in the ER for a few days a few weeks ago. One cousin told of the story that the dialysis tech couldn't find a stent placed in his arm, called a doctor and the doctor got hissy when my Uncle refused a test to see if the stent was working when the tech was incorrect in the first place. They ended up doing that session of dialysis through his neck. Moral of the story: You're basically fucked if you need more than one type of maintenance care for things like diabetes or kidney disease, which he both had.
2) My Brother and Sister in Law were at the viewing and funeral. SiL brought her parents to the viewing and they were...out of place. I could barely pay attention to them, nevermind anyone else. They did not stay long. The second thing is that my newest niece (their 4th kid) is only at 10lbs at 4 months. No, she wasn't a preemie, she isn't thriving because of stomach/feeding issues. Call me a horrible mother, but if my kid was not thriving and I was a working Mom, I would either a) spend as much time as I could with the baby (i.e. stay home with the kid whenever I could) and/or b) bring the baby with me if I was not working. No one in the family would have cared if she did either (sister and my other cousins did not bring their spouses, so that would not have been out of place and my sister was originally planning to bring her kid to the funeral), but no, SiL let the nanny take care of the baby to go do a social thing (and take off work, natch) that no one would have knocked her for. I'm past judging, I'm worried.
LO is being LO, which includes teenagery things like coming home late and encouraging her friends to stay out after driving curfew. Today, she went to the shore (~1hr30min) with some of her good friends. I am not thrilled with this, but at least she told me and the kids traveled off hours. #MomWorries #GrayHair
Fellas: On Saturday morning I went up to Princeton to meet up with a fella for brunch who was in town for a family function for a few days. Normally, I would not have done it, but he sounded interesting and why not. He is originally from this area and moved out to Colorado after 9/11. He was in the towers that day and his now ex couldn't bear living in the city afterwards. He is a good guy, a bit older, smart, business oriented (was once a trader at one infamous financial institution, owned a few businesses after that, etc.), just now getting out from the stress and mourning of his divorce. Has three teenagers and he is unsure what he'll do after his one child, who is LO's age, graduates high school. On a similar timeline as myself.
It was a good date. He seemed to enjoy it and being with me. (He noted there aren't many women to date where he lives now and that I'd "clean up" there, heh.) I'm not sure what happens next, as I've been reluctant to get into an LDR again. I'm sure he doesn't know either. We'll have to see.
Another older fella who I had been hanging with had kinda dropped off the clock for a bit with his national guard duty and then taking care of his parents. He is a little flaky (and oh so not situationally aware), so I wouldn't be surprised if I heard from him again this week, but who knows.
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