Gran’s funeral was a great day of celebrating a life well lived.
And the Italian side of the family cooked for two days before Gran’s Day. Steve squeezed over 100 lemons for lemonade and picked tomatoes and basil for the bruchetta. Everything came from our garden…the garden Gran loved so. While my Mom cooked up sausage and peppers, marinated shrimp and zucchini, and Mediterranean wraps, Kyra and I baked Italian cookies. In the middle of baking, I had to leave her with a particularly difficult cookie—bruttis—meaning ugly little cookie—made of ground toasted hazelnuts and meringue, they were delicious! So handling her baking emergency calls while driving to pick up Jarys at the airport…well, it was a very busy day…yet filled with joy, because we were doing it all for Gran.
As Jarys got settled, I whipped up lemon icing for the agnolettis. Kyra had just put magic bars into the oven (Gran’s favorite). “Jarys is home and here we are baking,” she said with a bit of powdered sugar dusting her cheek, “it feels like the holidays!” Yes, it did. And Gran was with us enjoying every moment.
Not that I didn’t cry at her funeral. I tried to hold it together with everyone looking to me for direction—not unusual since I tend to lead—but I didn’t have time to cry while setting up for the reception so I just got frustrated. Mom blamed it on hormones (or lack thereof) but all the cookies got plated and the buffet laid out nicely. Flowers from my garden graced the tables…Gran loved to arrange bouquets and her presence was strong while I placed the roses and hydrangeas in vases. So strange how my roses all perished the day she died…then new buds blossomed in time for her funeral.
Before entering the chapel, I had to stop and cry under a tree. I know Gran wasn’t in that fancy coffin but with me and each of us…in our hearts…yet the tradition of burying the dead…it’s hard. I do not remember my own grandparents’ funerals. I remember their deaths…too well…but their funerals were not celebrations. I didn’t want that for my children…nor would Gran…so we celebrated!
The chapel was filled with people dressed in…bright Hawaiian prints. Gran loved color! No somber black to dishonor the brightness of Gran.
During the service, Steve honored Gran first. He spoke of her energy and how attached we all were to her energy of hope and home. How by being loved by her, we would always know her energy; she would be attracted to ours and always be with us. Since her death, Gran has come to Steve. He is amazed but not surprised at the clarity of their connection. I am so grateful that Gran has become his spirit partner through the veil…there is no separation.
Gran was home for the entire family. She never knew a stranger. She loved freely and as Jarys said “accepted each of us for who we are.” The pastor could barely contain us as we stood to speak our love for Gran.
Five generations attended her funeral…she left a legacy of hope. The reception afterwards turned out to be the party we wanted for Gran. Sharing our memories, loving each other, enjoying the food…of course we made way too much…so Steve’s family was sent home with leftovers.
Yet I kept some biscotti…to dip in coffee, a cup for me and a half cup for Gran.