After the long drive we parked the car as huge quarter size snowflakes continuously fall onto the ground. I think to myself of how much Grandma loved the holidays, and there was no better day to say farewell than a day this cold with snowflakes so enormous.
After pondering the memories for a moment in the parking lot we exited the car and carefully walked across the fresh blanket of snow, making our way toward the funeral home doors. We say hello to the men clearing the walkways for the others that will be arriving for the service shortly,enter the building, then hang our first left to see grandma.
After missing the viewings the day before due to Riley’s strep throat, I was eager to have a few moments with my children alone in the room. I walked in noticing the flowers and all the other items near the casket. The beautiful pink gown she was wearing looked good with her skin tone, it was the perfect color for her.
I was amazed by the great work the funeral home had done, especially with her hair! The chemotherapy made it all fall out, and this woman’s hair was stunning. I thought it was a fabulous wig, she would have loved it.
I gather closer with the kids and I say, “It doesn’t even look like her does it”? The kids nod in confusion, agree and look closer. Jesse looking confused reaches out to rub her arm. We begin noticing her pretty jewelry and thought “We have never seen her wear that”.
Jesse looks at me and says “I love her pink dress mommy”. The kids and I continue to admire the things others had placed in the casket, and talk about the dying process. Meanwhile I cant stop thinking about how much her appearance had changed by simply dying.
Moments later a funeral home director walks in wondering why we were there so early. I explain that we called last night, and that we were told to come at 8:30a.m. He agrees and tells me no one relayed the message, and assured me it was no problem. I was telling them what a great job they did on her and that I couldn’t believe how good the wig looked. Another man interrupts to ask for my keys. He needed to move my van to a new location; apparently I parked in the wrong row for the black parade. They leave me be for a few minutes, then the one gentleman returns.
After the two men have a quiet conversation across the room the director then looks at me oddly and says “Ma’am, there will be a service starting next door shortly, could you all stay in here during the service”. “This service starts at 10:30 too” I replied. He said “No this starts at 1:00”. I then ask “Well why did the paper say 10:30?” He calmly walks over, grabs the laminated card and hands it to me to read for myself. I then read someone else’s name, not my grandmas!
Now granted, both names had Mary in them! Not to mention that Stout or Stump from a distance, with no glasses, looks pretty close too! Who would have thought? No wonder it did not look like her! No wonder I didn’t recognize the things around her, boy did I feel so dumb! I look up at the director and say “Kids, grab your stuff. This is not Grandma, now that makes a lot more sense.” The funeral director looked at me like I was a complete idiot, like I didn’t already know and needed confirmation.
The kids and I look at each other, release silent giggles and walk to the right room in the funeral home. While walking I am thinking “That poor lady in the casket probably thought, who are these people touching me, and why?”
Alas we enter the correct room, and there she was lying peacefully. She was dressed in a similar outfit as the lady next door. Her attire was even the exact same shade of pink, and the same material. She looked beautiful! That was my grandmother alright! The kids and I were relieved!
So overwhelmed by what had just happened it didn’t seem real that I was looking at her. She was one of the best female role models I have ever had in my life. I will cherish every memory I have of her.
I find it odd, that even while she has left this earth and is on “the other side” we had one last memory and laugh together. There is no doubt in my mind, that if she saw anything that happened at that funeral home today…. she was surely laughing at me!