Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Amazing Grace

Yesterday I went to my uncle John's funeral. He was a simple, humble man from a little country town in southwest Missouri. I did not know him well, but I knew that he loved to fish and hunt with my dad, that he was an expert gardener - his tomatoes were luscious, and he grew gorgeous dahlias each year.

His funeral was a quiet affair with friends and family, and a neighbor played the guitar and sang old hymns that reminded me of music from Oh Brother Where Art Thou. Life or choice or a combination of both has removed me from extended family through the years, but sitting in the small funeral home, listening to the music, the guitar and a quiet, country version of Amazing Grace, hearing those around me softly singing it, returned me immediately to my childhood, when cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents would spent many a weekend together in my mom's childhood home, crammed in like sardines.

I was surprised when I walked up to look at my uncle in the coffin. He had on his overalls. It was the only way I ever remembered him. I guess I expected to see him in a suit, but that wasn't him. It was fitting that he wore what he did.

I felt such sorrow for my dad, hearing him hum during the hymns. Knowing that his brother was gone. That they would never again have warm spring days together to go mushroom hunting. Wondering what it must be like to lose your siblings. It's a thought that turns my stomach and immediately brings hot tears behind my eyes, imagining my life without my own sister.

My cousin, uncle John's daughter, told us at the very end, before he passed, while he lay in the hospital bed in such pain, he opened his eyes and looked up, reaching towards the ceiling, and said, "Mama...Larry..." both of whom had already passed; his mother, my grandmother, before I was born, and my uncle Larry, Dad and John's fishing and hunting buddy, several years ago. Although I grew up in church, I have grown away from it since then, but still have my beliefs - I'm just not sure they're exactly the same as when I was a kid. Still, hearing that story, and the fact that he was seeing those people he loved in life as his life was ending, was comforting, and even though I am crying while I write this, I have to believe there is something more to my life than the here and now, and that eventually those that I love will be waiting for me too.

Dress: Target
Kimono: Thrifted
Necklace: F21
Earrings: World Market
Boots: Thrifted


Carly said...

what a touching post.
I am sorry for your loss...and also smiling through teary eyes that his family honored him by laying him to rest in (im assuming) his favorite overalls. What a sweet moment.

Hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving..loads to be thankful for, right?

MerciBlahBlah said...

Carly - Thank you - I appreciate your sweet comment. Loads to be thankful for indeed.


heidiluxe said...

my dad passed away 2 summers ago on the 4th of july after battling cancer for 5 years. truly an independence day. my mother said that when he was passing, the whole room felt to full even though it was only the 2 of them. i know that there is more than just this life and it is no coincidence that we have the parents, spouses and children that we have.
i'm sorry for you loss, but smiled at the vision of overalls.


Shan. so sorry for your loss. Nevrr easy losing someone...I got some hot tears just reading the thought about losing a sibling. Can't imagine.

I love that your Uncle was in his overalls just the way you remember him.

Thinking of you. xo

MerciBlahBlah said...

Heidi - SO glad to see you again! It's been too long, my friend. Thank you for sharing about your dad.

Nicole - thank you - I appreciate it.