There is something inspiring about a bunch of women and men of all ages who have come together to celebrate the passage of a dear friend or family member. This past week, my aunt on my father’s side passed away. My oldest son and I were invited to be pall- bearers for her; it is a real honor to be entrusted with this task.
As is traditional, I moaned and groaned about the need to dress up in a suit for the occasion; but not too hard. If I didn’t complain, Texas Grandma would have wondered who I was, and what had I done with the real Popgun. I plan to be buried in a polo shirt and jeans, myself. Nonetheless, there is a time for everything; and at this time and place, wearing a suit was the thing to do. Feel free to conclude that I am not very sophisticated in this respect – you’d be correct.
The ceremony was very well done, with a solid, well-delivered message and lovely singing by a talented young lady with a 12 string guitar.
The procession to the cemetery probably took about half an hour, and we arrived at LaGrone’s Chapel in the pre-lunch heat of East Texas in June, a long line of cars and trucks escorted to the city limits by a couple of kindly motorcycle cops.
The pall-bearers gathered at the rear of the funeral coach, and respectfully delivered my aunt, in her casket, to the scaffold above her body’s final resting place. I phrase it that way, because this crowd – all of us – have a really good idea where my aunt really is, now.
Her resting place is at the right hand of her parents, my grandparents (my grandfather being the original Pop). My own parents lie to their left hand. It’s a lovely place, if a bit hot on this particular day.
The family gathered for the brief, solemn, final ceremony and prayers, and it was done. We pall-bearers carefully laid our boutonnieres in a row down the center of the casket next to the single rose, we hugged our family, and we were dismissed. All adjourned to the chapel for lunch. My son and I briefly returned home (just a couple of miles away) to change clothes, and went back to the chapel to visit with family that we don’t get to see very often.
My aunt was, and is, well loved. I cannot say that I knew her really well. She was a contemporary of my parents, of course, and I never spent a great deal of time with her. I am much closer to my two lady cousins, her daughters. But my aunt and I had a few conversations now and then, the last not too far in the past, and I know we parted company on good terms. She was a fine lady; and she had my respect and affection.
God and family are important; never think that they aren’t. The interconnected web of family relationships is the matrix in which God placed your life; don’t underestimate it. Without that frame of reference, you are simply adrift in a sea of humanity, one amongst the billions. With it, you have roots, however far you may travel in life.
You need to water those roots, sometimes.