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melancholy

July 17, 2013

It was a long day today.  Driving to my aunt’s funeral went by so fast.  It felt like we were there in no time.  The drive home?  Not so much.  The funeral was graveside, under a tree.  Considering it was in the high 90s all day I was thankful for the shade.  It did not prevent the sweat from trickling down my back, however.  And with shade comes bugs.  It was a fairly short service, but it was nice.  The pastor knew my aunt very well and his homily was personal and kind.  He is the same pastor that officiated at my grandma’s funeral in May.  That funeral I was prepared for…with kleenex…and I didn’t shed a tear.  His homily was fairly impersonal and distracting.  So, I was not prepared today.  There is nothing worse than a runny nose and no kleenex.  Gross.

I met my cousin for the first time.  He was quiet.  His…girl-friend?…mother of his children? Was a little more talkative, but not much.  They live on the East coast.  I would ask a question, and they would answer it.  I would respond.  And then the awkward silence resumed.  I sat at their table to try to get to know them a little, but it didn’t matter.  I thought the whole thing was weird.  Maybe they thought I was weird.  Maybe I am.  Who knows.

I love noticing the nuances about small town life.  My mom looked ritzy in her black dress pants and dressy jacket.  Only our family had on jewelry.  My husband was the only grown man with a tie.  We were all more casual than if we were going to a funeral in the cities, but compared to the rest of the funeral goers, we were fancy.  They set up a card table in the shade in the cemetery.  My Aunt was cremated, so the urn was on the table along with beautiful arrangements of flowers.  It was so pretty.  There were probably 25 to 30 people who were in attendance, so it was a small gathering.  Most of the people she knew were probably in the nursing home where she had lived for years.

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The luncheon after the service was in the church.  They had multiple kinds of jell-o.  All had fruit in it, some had cool-whip on top.  They kept trading the jell-o between the tables so you could try each kind.  Variety is the spice of life.  There were pickles.  And there were sandwiches.  Ham.  On sliced white bread.  No condiments, no cheese, just ham.  They had piles of halved sandwiches on platters on each table.  Along with the pickles and the jell-o. Water or coffee was offered as drink.   It really was perfect.  But compared to what happens in the city?  Even in church basements?  It is such a contrast.  It made me wonder if this was the last small town church meal I would have.

Growing up, my mom was from a small town on the western border of Minnesota.  My dad grew up in a small town in southwestern Minnesota (where we were today.)  Every summer we would drive to visit my grandparents on both sides of the family.  We dreaded going.  The drive was looooonnnnngggg and boooorrrriiiinnngggg.  How many corn fields can you go by before you are just done looking at corn fields?  And the cows…smell.  Even as young adults we dreaded the drive and small town visiting.  Everyone is in your business, “Oh!  Your Vi’s granddaughter, aren’t you?”

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But now, I kind of like the corn fields.  The landscape is so beautiful.  I love the barns and the neat rows and how the distant fields sometimes, if you are on top of a hill, look like a patchwork quilt.  The cows still smell, but I love to notice them by the side of the road.  And all those people in your business?  They will tell you stories.  If you listen.

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I am kind of melancholy tonight.  I feel bad that I didn’t know my aunt as well as other people did.  I feel bad that my cousin and I didn’t have a real conversation.  And, most of all, I feel bad that there is no reason to ever go back to that little town again.  All the people we had there are gone.  That sucks.  It happened before when my mom’s parent’s died.  We haven’t been back since.  And I remember so many good times there.  It is like a double whammy death.

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2 Comments
  1. July 20, 2013 4:26 pm

    It’s more than a double whammy, it’s a triple…no! A quadruple! Grieving for your aunt, a place, memories AND childhood all at once. No wonder you’re melancholy. Huge hugs!! XOXO

    • July 20, 2013 10:36 pm

      I will take your hugs and give you a couple in return. Thanks Liz. You are such a huge comfort. I know I don’t tell you that enough. But you are!

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