The Funeral

The wake last night and funeral today were nice. I got to see family I hadn’t seen since 2002.

Family

When I greeted my uncle I mentioned him comment on my blog and explained why Good Man couldn’t come. I used Good Man’s real name, of course.

“Is that his name?” he said, “I only know him as Good Man. I only know him in 2-D.”

That struck me. Sunday we went to Duluth to visit some more family (on Mom’s side) that I (also) hadn’t seen in years. Mom was surprised we weren’t more huggy or chatty or something. We all explained, independently, that Facebook and the internet keep us connected, so it doesn’t seem like it’s been years since we last saw each other.

I’m not Catholic but George’s family is. The wake and funeral were both Catholic, which was interesting. I was watching it all much like I watched Grandmother’s funeral in Korea, with a curious detachment. There were some things I saw (incense, bells) that made me think, ‘Hmm, they did something like this at the Buddhist funeral.’

(Side: At the funeral home I found a book called something like Funeral Customs Around the World, printed in 1960. Apparently the seven knots in the hemp cloth are due to seven stars in the constallation of the bear.)

My cousin and I were chosen to do readings. I was first up and it was right after we entered the church. I wanted to cry, but I thought, ‘Don’t look at Grandpa and put on your best teacher voice.’ I did. Then my cousin was up. She’s in law school and I can only assume she put on her lawyer voice because she did a great job.

After the funeral I got to partake in great Minnesota food. Three different Jell-O salads (!), a half dozen varieties of “bars,” and Tater Tot hot dish were some of the offerings. Oooh, it was like being back in high school.

I wish Good Man had been able to come. He would’ve met a ton of family at one time, experienced an American funeral, and eaten real Midwestern food. Still, although he couldn’t come, I’m glad I went.

What is George Doing?