Sunday, March 10, 2013

Trip to Pennsylvania - Part 3

Grandma's funeral was held on Saturday, February 23. It was a gray and drizzly day. I expected it to rain more but was thankful that it was only a drizzle. We arrived at the church early (8:45ish) since the family was going to have their viewing from 9:00-9:30. My grandma did not want to have an open casket at her funeral so the viewing was only for family members. Also, the casket was never in the sanctuary. It stayed out in the foyer and as people arrived for the funeral they walked through a receiving line made up by my grandpa, my mom, her siblings, and the spouses.

The viewing was the hardest part of my day. I had only been to one other viewing (my dad's dad) and I remember how hard that was. I also debated about what to do with the girls. Sanaa had so many questions and I was a little fearful of letting her see my grandma. Layla didn't seem to grasp all that was happening and I wasn't sure what she would say or think if she saw my grandma in the casket.

In the end, I decided to let the girls be a part of the viewing and I'm glad I did. It was actually my dad who shared a memory with me that helped me decide what to do. One of his only memories of one of his great grandma's is a lady lying in a casket wearing a blue dress. The very ironic thing is that my grandma was also dressed in a blue dress.

Like expected, Sanaa had questions. When she saw my grandma someone mentioned that she was sleeping. However, I was quick to clarify that she was not sleeping and told Sanaa that she had died. I explained to Sanaa that when we die our bodies are left behind but our souls go to Heaven. I also told Sanaa that grandma believed in Jesus so she was now in Heaven with him. I did not want Sanaa to think that grandma was just sleeping.

Both girls just took everything in and I of course cried. Grandma looked so peaceful. Grandma had been ready to go to Heaven for quite awhile. Her mortal body was failing her (her eyesight was very poor and she was in pain) so I knew that she was much happier and free of all pain. But death and being separated from loved ones for a time stinks. Especially when you are at your grandparents house and expect to see your grandma in the kitchen when you wake up in the morning.

I don't think I'll ever forget when the family viewing time ended. We all gathered around the casket for one final goodbye. Sanaa and Layla even waved (so sweet!). My grandpa very carefully pulled the blanket up around my grandma and tucked it under her chin. He then leaned over and kissed her and whispered something (I'm not sure what he said but I thought he said something like "I love you and I'll see you soon."). After that they closed the casket.

I don't remember much of the funeral service. Malakai started crying (so Nate took him out of the sanctuary), Layla was very fidgety, and I honestly didn't want to dwell too much on my grandma because I don't think I wanted to face the reality that she was gone. I do hope to listen to her service again once my mom gets a CD of it.

I was asked to be a pallbearer along with my brother and five other cousins. You can't see me in the picture since I'm on the other side of the casket but I was right behind my brother (there were only 2 boy cousins carrying the casket, Tony, who was on the side where the picture was taken and my brother on the other side). Tony and Ryan were at the front of the casket. This was actually the second time I've been a pallbearer. I was a pallbearer at my grandpa's funeral (my dad's dad) and I really hope that Jesus returns before I'm asked to be another pallbearer. It would be wonderful to not have to bury anymore loved ones.

At the graveside just the family gathered. We sang 'We're Marching to Zion' and then my mom, grandpa and her siblings were each given a flower from the arrangement on top of my grandma's casket.

Before my grandma died, one of her wishes was that each grand child would choose a bell to take from her collection to remember her by. When I was told that we were to choose a bell I knew immediately which one I would take. It was the bell that I had bought for her when I was in Ireland. That bell is now sitting our china cabinet and will always have many special memories attached to it.

I plan to make another post with my talking about my grandma's final words and her legacy, but that will have to come another day since writing this post was quite hard (especially since it was tough seeing the computer screen through my tears!).

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