With a lump in my throat, I take my seat on the third pew, one of several that had been reserved for family. Brooklyn by my side with her baby doll we watch as they roll that powder blue casket down the aisle and place it up front with all the brightly colored flowers that fill the room with sweet sadness. At this point my major concern is that Brook can't hear very well, her preschool told me she's been having problems keep up with class conversation and I've noted the same at home. But she puts on her precious whispering child voice and says "Is that man in the cage gonna sing?" It was actually a wall that was designed to be somewhat open so the voices behind the wall would carry thru the church-like room, but to a five year old, it looked like a wooden cage.
And in Southern tradition, a lone, off key voice, filled the room with one of several farewell songs. It was beautiful. Just like you see in the movies and the family friend belted his voice so we all felt those words. The preacher did a great job of making us all feel good about Maw Maw going Home. I was surprised at how well Brook could hear in there, she repeated things like "Why did he say 5 brothers?" I'm assuming it was the calm quietness and the microphone system they were using. And also in true Southern style, the preacher got excited at times. Brooklyn whispered "Why is he screaming?" She also announced before the service was over that she had to use the bathroom only named what business needed attending too, thankfully...she was still using her whisper voice and only a few people heard her (and they were family).
We traveled to the cemetery after the service was over and sat on the red blanketed seats reserved for close family...and then the wind blew. It was in the 70's here in Bama yesterday, an amazing day. I breathed in deep and let the wonderful air fill my lungs as it almost lifted the red tent they use to shadow the grave during funerals. We then exited to my aunt's house where both myself and Brooklyn had a great time (due to behavior issues the night before at the visitation, we decided that my husband would stay home with Gage-they had said their goodbyes the night before). Brook played and laughed and ran around with two other girl cousins. I chatted with my sister and cousins, looked at old photos, laughed about old memories. We found out that Maw Maw never told on us (my cousin and me) for sneaking around and smoking cigarettes at her house when we were barely teenagers. Why we thought we could just blow the smoke out the window and no one would know, I have no clue, just inexperienced smokers I guess...luckily neither of us smoke today!
Here we are at Christmas, Maw Maw grabbed up Gage and said "God has his hands on this one" and I knew what she meant. Maw Maw knew she was featured in my book, I'm so glad she got to see that. Though she never read the whole book, she said she couldn't get past a couple of sentences without crying, she knew what was in it. She told me how proud she was of me for writing it. I saw her six days before she passed and though she mostly slept, she awoke long enough to say "There's that pretty thing!" and she saw me there. She basically slept, and slept until she didn't wake anymore, her days here were finished. She had a connection with my kids because she too was nearly deaf. Age had taken her hearing over the years and she mostly read faces, just like Gage does today. She always told me as she approached her 90th birthday last year, "I've been here a long time." And yesterday could not have been more beautiful!