Thursday, I went to the funeral for my friend’s mother. It was a nice service. My friend’s mother was 82 years old when she died. She had 6 children, 19 grandchildren, and a ton of great-grandchildren. My friend is a middle child, has 3 children and 5 grandchildren all of whom were in attendance along with their spouses, significant others and even ex-spouses. My friend's mother was one of the founding members of the local Extension club to which I belong.
My friend’s stepfather, who is ill and wheelchair-bound, was devastated. I watched my friend take care of him, one hand remaining on his arm through the service. Her husband kept one hand on her throughout the service.
The moment that got to me the most? My friend’s youngest granddaughter, who is 5, left her mother’s side and went to her daddy, who was one of the pallbearers, in order to comfort him. The sight of her little hand patting her daddy’s face brought me to tears.
The casket was wheeled out of the church to a rollicking polka and we went to the cemetery. It was a bitterly cold day and the graveside services were brief, although no less heartfelt for their brevity.
Thursday afternoon, the local stock show opened. After school and after Moose FINALLY finished his homework, we went to the stock show. The three oldest of my friend’s grandchildren were showing in the lamb, goat, and steer classes. Their great-grandmother would have been proud. The children conducted themselves with dignity and grace and won a prize here and there.
As I was standing there watching the judging, it occurred to me that this day pretty much summarized life in a rural community. The dead are honored and the living keep on living. It was a good day.