we arrived at the funeral as the priest was processing down the aisle, and thus i got to enter the church where my parents were married and where i was baptised, communed and confirmed right behind the official celebrant. how ironic, i thought, and that was only one of the many delicious ironies that has attended my grandmother's departure from this life.
i am happy to report that the statues neither danced nor the roof fell. at various points throughout the service, there WAS a very peculiar raucous noise - i attributed it to baby jake, my mother to a raven and my brother to the chicken he assumed i'd brought along to sacrifice. (funny guy my brother is.)
at the grave site my mother recited pslam 119 with such gusto i expected her to fall on the ground beating her breast, but she managed to control herself. she did, however, accept the condolences of all and sundry - especially the priest's (he'd never met my grandmother and so his were a bit cliched but obviously completely sincere) - with a sort of solemn dignified grace that made me want to stick a pin in her butt.
the only mourner who shed an obvious tear was a mentally-challenged woman who'd been kind enough to be one of the few people who'd visited my grandmother faithfully. rose didn't like the eagles, she declared when i thanked her for being so good to my grandmother who'd said so many terribly mean things both to her and about her.
no, i agreed. she didn't.
the food was as mediocre as i remembered, redeemed only by the bread pudding and the strong drinks but i am happy to report that my mother's half-brother had the decency to stay away. even i, who strongly feel that the disposition of the dead and all their attendant ceremonies should be done at the convenience and preferrment of the living, would've drawn the line there.
but it was not until the following morning, when Beloved and i went down the beach, as the sun was coming up, carrying the small bag of roey's ashes that i felt my grandmother's spirit finally depart.
the sky was perfectly blue, the sun blazed a beam of light across the water. in a gesture that was as fierce as it was final, i kissed the bag of ashes and let them go in a shower of silver that sparkled on the foam. they swirled, coalesced and then dispersed, falling away into the sand they so resembled.
and finally, i wept.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.