So, the first part of the day was to be spent at their local Catholic church for a funereal mass. For some reason, when I got ready in the morning I didn't think about how I might be feeling later in the day, and in all stupidity I didn't wear waterproof makeup! The second I saw my brother and nephews rolling her casket down the aisle I completely lost it. If it wasn't for my mother and her endless supply of tissues I would have looked like Amy Winehouse within a minute. As it was, I left the church with half the eyeliner and mascara on my left eye missing, with no cosmetic case to fix it with.
My poor girls. This was their first experience with death, and Mikayla had tears rolling down her face during the entire mass, and Madison was sobbing uncontrollably, and LOUDLY.
The procession of all of us leaving the church and heading to the cemetery was a sight to behold. There were so many of us that the funeral home hired a security company to race from light to light, directing traffic so we'd all stay together. This might be common with funerals, but not that I can recall.
Anyway, graveside (but since it's one of those mausoleum things, I guess it would be drawer-side) service was beautiful, simple, and quick. Mary was to be put to rest in the top-most drawer... directly atop her niece's father-in-law (you still with me?), where my sister-in-law joked she could fart on him. The real reason she's on the very top is because in life she was very claustrophobic, so being up top, she doesn't have anything but sky over her head. And about 8" of solid granite.
Afterward, all were invited over to my brother Jeff's house for the funeral reception. I don't know how things are done in your families, but in mine, the moment the funeral is over and all are gathered in someones house, it's as if a light switch has been flicked. Tears dry up, dressy clothes are flying left and right, kids are chasing each other in the yard, and sternos are fired up under tray upon tray of food. Italian food. Lasagna, eggplant parmesan, chicken something or other, garlic knots, and a stray tray of barbecue pork. Hey, one cannot live on red sauce alone, capise?
So try to picture in your mind 40+ Italians,
So the gluttony is in full swing, jokes and old family stories are told at very high decibels (and yes, I was probably the loudest), old ladies in the family room, the cool, hip, young crowd (me!!!) out on the back patio, the NYers down for the funeral sunning themselves beside the pool, because hey, it's November and it's 80 zillion frickin' degrees. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, we're all NEW YORK Italians. If you didn't already know, that makes us much worse because we can curse in Italian, but with a NY accent. Scary shit, I'm telling you.
So, one of the zillion cousins goes out back to sit on the end of a lounge chair. All you hear is CRACK and a thump. Yep, Trish is on her ass! Does anyone say, "Are you okay? Can I help you up?" NO! Everyone instead laughs and points at her. Jeff forgot to mention that he'd repaired his old resin chairs with a glue gun. Oh God, I love this friggin' family.
So, a couple hours goes by, and another cousin, Ni... Oh wait, I guess I shouldn't give out his name in case he wants his privacy. Let's just say his name starts with an N and sounds like Dicky. But come to think of it, Dicky is a very apropos name for him, so let's just call him that. Dicky is the jokester of the family and likes nothing better than others' humiliation. So it was great when he was in the middle of a conversation saying something to the effect of, "Ya know, that really burns my ass!", just as he was taking a seat in one of Jeff's rigged lounge chairs. CRACK!!!!!!! THUMP!!!!!!!! Yep, another broken chair and Dicky sitting there folded in half. But because it was Dicky this time, not only did the entire clan point and laugh hysterically, but several of them ran with cell phones extended in camera mode to capture his humiliation.
How does your burning ass feel now, Dicky?
Ah, there's nothing like uncontrollable laughter to ease the sorrow of losing a loved one. I know Mary was up in Heaven rolling her eyes at all of us crazy Italians, doing what we do when you get a bunch of us all in one place to grieve together.