I ran across this essay I wrote about taking my children to my Granny White’s funeral back in August 1999. Hard to believe it’s been nearly 17 years since she passed.
On August 2nd, my grandmother passed away after 9 years in a nursing home with advanced Alzheimer’s. Her passing brought back fond memories, and actually was seen by her family as a joyful occasion to celebrate her freedom from the chains of her earthly body and mind.
On August 4th we attended her funeral. It was a lovely funeral — at least what I saw of it. I think if my Granny was watching, she would have gotten a lot of really good laughs…
Greg [my husband at the time] was a pallbearer and was riding in the van for the pallbearers, so they had my kids and me get in a limousine. They loaded up all the cars, but no one ever came to drive ours.
They motioned the line of cars on until they were all gone but mine. I was just sitting there with the baby on my lap and Jillian (2 years old), Caleb (9 years) and Joshua (7 years) in the back seat — no driver.
Finally after me waving at him for what seemed like eons, this man came over to ask me who was driving my car. I said, ”I don’t have a clue.” They hurried up and grabbed this white-haired elderly man to drive our limousine.
He couldn’t even get the car into gear. He kept fumbling around with the steering wheel and every knob he could find. The car started coasting over toward the building. He even popped the hood while fumbling all around the steering wheel trying to get the car to go. I was sitting there thinking, ”Man, I’m going to miss the funeral procession, and we’ll be lucky if we even make it there alive with this poor old senile man driving!”
Finally, he got the car in gear and drove like a madman to catch up with the procession. Along the way, the driver informed me he had worked with my Granny at American Uniform so that tells you how old he was (she was a month shy of 89 when she died).
We had to drive for about 40 minutes into the country to this old family cemetery. About half-way there, the limousine started dinging and flashing “Low Fuel Levels” messages. I spent the remaining 20 minutes praying that the car wouldn’t run out of gas. I was sure this poor old man wouldn’t know the way if we got left behind, and we were the last car in the procession. No one would ever see that we were missing.
We evidently weren’t the only ones having trouble… my cousin’s husband was driving the lead car and even took a wrong turn down a dead end street along the way. This stalled the procession for some time as they worked to get the cars back on the right road.
Meanwhile in the back seat of our car… Josh was doing his usual subtle picking at Jillian that makes her absolutely bonkers. She was whining and jumping all over the back seat like a monkey and kicking Josh and the back of the driver’s seat. At one point, she slipped all the way down until the seat belt was around her neck.
She had been wild the whole day. During the funeral itself, I had to take her and Nathan (the baby) out because they were fighting over the LifeSavers that I was shoving into Jillie’s mouth as fast as I could to keep her quiet. I guess I gave her too many because she started yelling, ”I WANNA DRINK!” I could tell she was on the verge of one of her hissy fits. So, totally embarrassed, I lugged a child in each arm, down the endless isle and out the back door.
Needless to say, I never got the chance to be sad. And I’m positive my Granny wasn’t either.
Here’s a short video I put together of some photos of my Granny and her playing the piano. She used to play in a silent movie house.