Monday, June 19, 2006

The Sixth Sense (or, "I see dead people.")

When I was a kid, it used to bother me when people at wakes would say, "She looks so peaceful!" or "He looks just like he's sleeping!" I used to look at the people in the casket and think to myself, "Nope. Just looks dead."

I don't know if it's because I'm older now and I see things differently, or if it's because people in the funeral business have gotten that much better at doin' up the deceased, but I found myself saying those very things tonight at Grandma's wake, and meaning them.

She looked wonderful. Really. She was wearing a lovely pale pink dress, and her fingernails were painted, and her hair was done just like she wore it. She looked just like Grandma, which was quite nice, and much easier to say good-bye to than a stranger who my brain tells me is Grandma, but who my eyes say, "No way."

The funeral home put together a CD slide show of Grandma's life from photographs that Aunt Teresa (I think she was the one who pulled them all together) gave them. I had never seen many of the images, and it was so cool to sit there and see the whole life of someone I love. It's times like this that I realize, again, that people are so much more than just how I see them. I got to see Grandma as a baby daughter, a sister, bride. I got to see her as a new mother, a friend, an aunt, and finally as the grandmother as I knew her.

Tomorrow is her funeral mass, and M and Uncle Shawn are pallbearers. I'm glad. And I'm so proud of both of them for helping our family.

Thank you to Papa for being so strong, Mama for being there for Papa, and Beans for keeping me in the loop and just for being an awesome sister in general. Thank you to M's family for coming to pay their respects, and especially to Grandma Frank, who, when I thanked her for coming, put her arm around me and said, "I didn't know your grandma very well, but I know you." Grandma Frank always knows just the right thing to say.

Keep praying for Aunt Sharon...she still needs it.


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