Funerals are rarely funny.
It’s in bad taste to laugh during a funeral.
But then, some rules are meant to be broken by certain types of families. I belong to one of those rule breakin’ funeral laughin’ families.
In our defense, let me explain the situation.
Great Grandma Mame was bigger than life. Oh, she was tiny in stature, but big in drama. At the time of her death, her mind had already been in a better place for several years. Ninety plus-plus-plus, she’d lived a full life. She earned a master’s degree in her sixties, and taught school into her seventies. She was a woman who embraced life, ate dessert first, wore purple and any other dang color combination she dang well felt like wearing. She was a woman who took command of the room, kissed her great-grandchildren sloppy and did I mention drama?
So, if her funeral had been someone else’s and she was in her full mind, she would have laughed at the events. And, just for the record, she had a relationship with Jesus. Long in coming and a great celebration of a homecoming.
My aunts and my mother may have looked overcome with grief. They sat in the front row and their shoulders shook with emotion. Unfortunately, the emotion was hysterical laughter. The young preacher read a lengthy scripture about immortality. The word was repeated many times. Each time he read it he said immorality.
That’s mild compared to the Pat moment.
Pat may have been taught to drive by a stunt or race car driver. I’ve never checked into this, or maybe it was a preacher, because every time I ride with him I feel closer to God.
We were a little late to the funeral. This is also a common theme in my family. I am the only one who arrives on time. I believe this is a rebellious streak.
Did I mention that the virtue of patience somehow skipped my dad?
We arrived at a yellow light. A yellow light in a left turning lane on the way to my great grandmother’s funeral. The car in front of us stopped, as we are all taught to do in driver’s education class. They must not teach that in stunt driving school.
On the light that was so yellow it was orange, Pat whipped around the car in front of us, which necessitated a pass on the right, and careened left, while the light turned red.
Silence filled the car.
Then I came up with some clever headlines. “Entire family wiped out on the way to matriarch’s funeral.” “Discount given for mass burial of family.” “Main Street becomes a funeral pyre for overeager family.”
And we laughed.
Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.