Years ago my Grandma Ginger’s sister died.
To be honest, I really didn’t spend a lot of time with my Grandma Ginger’s family- my Dad was closer to his Father’s family and my Mom was pretty tight with hers. I don’t think there were any issues between the families it’s just the way it was.
Oh wait there was an issue- a big one.
My Grandpa Bert’s Mother and Grandma Ginger’s Mother hated each other to DEATH because their families were on opposite sides in some clan war in Scotland.
God I wish I were kidding.
When we would see Grandma’s family it was always nice- one of her sisters lived with us for awhile and her oldest sister was driving an RV full of senior citizens after she had joined those ranks herself on some pretty long road trips so I thought she was cool.
Grandma’s father was also a Magician- which was a gift he passed on to me but to be honest I never pursued it and one of my regrets is that I didn’t.
Back to the death of Grandma’s sister.
Despite not being the closest of relatives we went to her funeral.
It was the respectful thing to do and “Aunt Geri “was always nice when we did see her and I liked her daughters a lot.
I remember there were a lot of beautiful flowers and the Funeral Director was very kind and the Minister was too.
Now, Grandma’s side of the family and my Dad’s aren’t the most religious people in the world. They’re not atheists but Church was not their thing- so the Minister I knew was probably recommended by the Funeral Director.
With that being said, you know you can’t blame the guy for what happened.
Grandma’s sister was named Geraldine and her nickname was Geri.
The Minister goes up to the podium next to her coffin and steps in front of it to lead us in prayer ( which I thought was nice). Then he takes out his notes from this nice black leather folder and starts to give this really nice heartfelt reading of Geri’s life.
The thing of it is, he must have had a type-o in his notes because he kept calling Aunt Geri
You read that right… Gary.
The very nice Minister who I swear to God looked like he had stepped out of a Rockwell painting was talking about GARY and what GARY had meant to the family and … to be honest at some point I thought,
“Gary sounds like a hell of a person, I’ll bet Aunt Geri would have liked him a lot.”
And I almost laughed. I wanted to laugh in the worst way. I can only compare it to go to needing to go the bathroom when the line is a mile long, it’s wanting a glass of something cold on a scorching hot day and there’s nothing to drink and all you can think about are waterfalls and the roaring ocean and rainstorms.
I took a deep breath and wouldn’t let it go.
My eyes started to water, my ears started to ring and then I coughed and my nose ran and every hole in my head just started to leak.
I covered my face with my hands and bit into my palm and I willed myself not to laugh.
So of course the Minister mentions the good works GARY did for the community and I laughed, only I sounded like a cat being strangled and I got up with as much dignity as I could and started to walk down the aisle.
Before I got to the doors, some lovely friend of my Aunt Geri ( Gary ) reached out and touched my arm and said something about “all of us loving her so much”.
I smiled, for fear of going into hysterics I smiled and I thought it was a good chance to crack one because it was appropriate for the moment and then I hustled out the doors, through the lobby around to the back of the funeral home behind the dumpster and I laughed.
I laughed and I knew I was going to go to Hell for this, but I laughed so hard I almost threw up.
When I was done or thought I was, I started to walk back to the doors to the lobby and just as I reached for the door handle I started to laugh again so I ran back to the dumpster ( which smelled like flowers ) and went through it all again.
That was one of the most mortifying experiences of my life.
And then I went to work in a Funeral Home myself and I learned there is nothing truly dignified about death or dieing or how we act and that’s okay because when you are dealing with death you are pretty much receiving the ultimate sucker punch and you gotta do what you have to do to make it through the process.
There’s no right or wrong way to do it.
I learned that from GARY.