Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Laughter At A Funeral

My brother in law died in April 2009. 

Photo taken by Melodi2
Tensions were high that morning as we prepared for the day filled with overwhelming emotion and numb brains. The Counting Mutant was the designated speaker of the eulogy. His brother had committed suicide. People filed into the small funeral chapel. Family seated together in the front rows all with tears creeping down, their faces filled with confusion.

Two decades before I sat in this very funeral home. In high school, a friends’ sister was killed in a boating accident. She was barely a teen. Not long after we again met to bury their mother killed in an automobile accident. Those memories invaded my mind as I sat next to my sweet Mutant. His stoic nature created a calm demeanor. I knew he was struggling though, deep within his introverted self. The last natural son of his father, the duty to speak had fallen to him.

Music started to play. The collective hearts in the room began to sink. On queue, the Mutant walked up to the podium. I braced myself. He shakily began his carefully crafted speech.

He was so brave. His voice quivered just a little, his gaze connecting to each person in the room as he spoke those first few sentences.


To my horror that sweet man drop his face and gazed at the podium. One of his hands flew up to cover his eyes as he shook his head. My friends grabbed my hands in comfort as we watched him shutter a little. I heard everyone supportively hold their breath as we waited for him to gather himself. After a few moments he lifted his face. With a changed expression on his face the eulogy was eloquently finished. Something happened in that moment to lighten his burden. I wasn't sure if it was resolve or…

The day was bittersweet. Tables decorated with flowers and butterflies lined our backyard. Ducks glided along the water of the lake. Hugs, Friends and family who hadn't seen each other in years softly laughed about my Brother In Law’s antics. His life was our focus. It didn't matter how he died.

Hours later The Mutant and I sat completely drained. For the first time in days we were alone. The task of the funeral completed. Sunset colored the lake in ethereal golds and reds. In the stillness we sat together outside at the empty tables littered with bits of dirty dishes yet to be cleared away.

A flicker of his hand covered face jogged my memory. I cautiously put my hand on his arm. Our hazel eyes met and I asked, "What happened during the eulogy?"

Frown lines melted and laughter filled his eyes, "As usual," he began laughing,” Just as I began to speak your parents walked through the door. Stood looking confused then quickly found a seat. I had to stop talking because I was laughing so hard. They will be late to their own funeral."

A Mother Life

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