|Photo courtesy of Rosalie Phillips|
Except for a few instructions from the Mama, I had carte blanche to plan her funeral services. Would I follow the traditional way, which I regard as much too somber, tight-lipped, not a crack of a smile, and full of smelly moth balls? Or, would I follow my heart and let loose with the joy that is life, living, and, most of all, the deep essence of the Mama who denied it so often while she lived?
Was there any doubt that I would do the latter?
At times. Especially after freaking out when I read the what should be's when it comes to funerals, in particular, Ilocano funerals. One superstition, or tradition, is that no family members shall be pallbearers. Bad luck would be theirs otherwise. Before I read that, I had decided to be one of the Mama's pallbearers. I wanted to go the whole nine yards with the Mama. But, maybe I ought to pay attention to the superstition. Then I recalled I was a pallbearer for Uncle Frank several decades back. Did bad things happen afterwards? Sure. Good and wonderful things happened, too. It's called living.
So, I was one of the Mama's six pallbearers. I asked the Husband if he'd like to be a pallbearer, but he declined for reasons neither of us can remember. While we were milling around the mortuary on the day of the funeral, waiting to head to church, the Husband asked," Do you have enough pallbearers?" I told him to check with the funeral guy in charge of our party, who made the Husband an honorary pallbearer, meaning he could walk with us and help with the casket when needed.
Being a pallbearer is very different today. I think the most carrying and lifting that we did was down the steps of the mortuary and then several feet to the hearse. It was possible that the coffin was placed on a gurney-type thing after the steps, and then we wheeled it to the car. I don't remember. We did wheel it from the hearse to the church and back again. I think we, pallbearers, may have taken it by hand from the hearse to the grave site, which was only a few feet.
I'm glad I was one of the Mama's pallbearers. Mostly because I was physically doing something rather than sitting and observing the casket going from one point to the next. I would've found it difficult to merely sit and not to suddenly leave my perch. As a pallbearer, I had a task to complete. I was not going anywhere to cry.
The Mama's spirit was happily surprised, I like to think, that her pallbearers were four guys and three gals. Spring chickens, we were. The Mama loved and respected each and every one of her motley crew of pallbearers—Ernie, Kathy, Jennifer, Dave, Thomas, the Husband, and me.
|Photo courtesy of Thomas Treziak|
It's the letter P at ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly meme begun by Mrs. Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green and his ABCW team. Click here to check out the P fun.