Wednesday, April 1, 2009

An Irish Passing

A dear friend of Matt's family died this week. She was older and had lived a vibrant, active and wonderful life. She was a pistol and is probably doing an Irish jig in Heaven with Matt's Grandma.

The wake was yesterday and was 2 hours away. The girls were curious and asked what is the difference between a wake and a funeral. I told them about the casket being at the wake and sometimes it was open, sometimes not, the flowers, etc..

So Matt, his brother and I hop in the car and drive to Methuen to attend the wake. The boys were going fishing last night, so this was their only chance to pay their respects. The ride up was fun as always. Matt sat in the front seat and mumbled fishing talk, and politics from his closed lips. More often than not, Timmy, in the back seat, would say, "What?" . Honestly, I wanted to scream, "Open your mouth when you are talking!!!" Did you figure out that I was driving? Just call me chauffer. It it's not the kids, it's my husband. When they weren't mumbling, they were listening to Rush (as in Limbaugh, not the 70's rock group). I am very middle of the road (except when I am driving) and for me to listen to an arrogant right winged man spouting off crap is not the easiest thing to do. Especially when my car mates were agreeing to what he said. (The ride home, we got to listen to Howie Carr, yeah, good times).

We get to the funeral home and I totally recognize it as the place we have been to before for other relatives. At the beginning of the parking lot there are 2 huge (like 3 story) pillars. Why? Why are there 2 gigantic pillars that don't seem to do anything there? Was it the entrance to a castle at one time? Is it a sign of royalty? I wish I had taken a picture.

We go into the huge funeral home and are escorted to one of the smaller rooms with the most people in it (Murphy's Law, right?). The smell of flowers almost knocked me over. There were all types of flowers, even an arrangement of green carnations because the deceased was Irish, and don't get me wrong, they were beautiful! However, I am allergic to lillies and the smell tends to make my throat close.

The casket is open. We pay our respects and say hello to the family. The parents are Matt's Godparents and we just don't see them often enough. They are a very sweet family.
And then we sit.
The room is set up like a bus. The casket being the front of the bus, and then rows of seats facing the casket. This is what I don't get. Why do we feel compelled to sit there and look at the deceased? Are we wating for them to wake up and say, it's just a joke? People are talking about gossip around town, grocery shopping, who has a cute bag, who so and so is, etc... We stay about 1 1/2 hours and leave. Of course, I have to get off the bus, I mean leave the room a few times for air because I counted about 367 lillies in all the arrangements.

We get home and the girls are there with the questions.
"Was the casket open?" "Yes"
"What was she wearing?" " A tan brownish dress or sweater and pants? I think"
"Was her tongue hanging out?" "WHAT? NO!"
"How did she look?" "oy"

Hopefully they will not have to attend a wake until they are much much much older!


Isadora said...

Hi there! Children do say the darndest things :)

We must be pretty close to each other at the moment as I am visiting my brother in West Wareham and enjoying the Cape for another three weeks before returning to Budapest.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Ick if a tongue is EVER hanging out at a wake!


Manic Mommy said...

I agree; wakes are like weird little cocktail parties where someone invited a body.

I'm half Irish/half Italian and Catholic, so I know a good wake when I see one.

AirmanMom said...

I, too grew up Irish/Catholic and have sat through many a wake! My last request will have the box closed and in the ground and a party elsewhere!!!!
Love the kid-comment!

Mags said...

Haven growing up in NYC, I've been to many Irish wakes as well. Honestly, I enjoy them because I get to reminisce about our dearly departed as well as catch up with many relatives I/we rarely/occasionally see.

My kids are growing up in a different environment....I'm hoping many years pass before my kids attend one.

Kathy said...

I agree with airman mom - put me in the ground then have a swinging party! My kids have been to a few family wakes since i too am irish catholic. My family always has a kickin party after the funeral though, these days the only time we see many of the relatives (which, since we are irish catholic, I have a LOT of - ha ha!)

Caution Flag said...

Holy cow! "Was her tongue hanging out?" That's fantastic! Love those girls of yours :)