My aunt's funeral service went off with many hitches. First, the snow storm caused flights from everywhere to be cancelled, leaving my brother and niece stranded in Jamaica. My cousin from Nassau who was supposed to deliver the eulogy, and our cousins who were traveling up from Florida also had their flights cancelled, but the Virginia, Maryland and Boston cousins drove or took the bus, despite the so called bomb cyclone that dumped so much snow and blanketed the Northeast in subzero temperatures.
The service itself was an exercise in acceptance. There was no program, and therefore much confusion about what was supposed to happen next. The priest clearly knew nothing about our aunt, and should not have bothered to deliver an address of any sort, as his words only highlighted his lack of preparation. My cousin Helen was sitting beside me. I turned to her and whispered, "I think they needed more support with planning. I feel awful that I didn't offer more help." Helen beamed her bright impish smile and whispered back, "That is just self-abuse. Let it go. Everything is happening exactly as it's meant to." I relaxed then, and let everything be just what it was.
At the repast after, the food didn't arrive for hours. The service had been a morning one and most people hadn't eaten breakfast, including me. Despite almost everyone being ravenous, the milling around and catching up with family was lovely. My cousin Winsome had found a box of photographs in her garage that had belonged to our Uncle Charlie, who died ten years ago now. She had sorted the photos in different envelopes to be parceled out to family members, and we all pored over each others pictures, remembering who and what and when. That was definitely a highlight.
It's Sunday afternoon now. All our houseguests are back on the road heading home, and my husband just walked in carting bags of groceries. He plans to make zucchini noodle lasagna for dinner. He just said to me, "You know, I love when the kids come by and hang out with us, and I love having our extended family stay in our home, but there is a certain joy I feel when I know I'm coming home to just you." After 31 years of marriage, his words made my heart smile. Our nest isn't empty at all.