Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

My Photo
Location: Texas, United States

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Long Sad Happy Day

NEWS FLASH: El Capitan Enters A Church, Does Not Burst Into Flames!

The family said goodbye to my Aunt Mary yesterday. She had passed earlier in the week from complications from Alzheimer's, and from just simply being pretty darned old. She went peacefully in her sleep, for which we are thankful. It was not unexpected, her whole family was in attendance, and we were spared the shock of a sudden death in the family.

She was the oldest female on Mom's side of the family, taking over as the reigning matriarch when my grandmother died 6 years ago. That slot now passes to either my great-Aunt Lorraine or one of the west Texas collection of LOLs. (Little Old Ladies) I suppose we'll have to have a Ultimate Fighting cage match to determine which LOL gets to call the family meeting to order. Man, they're vicious with those hat pins...

It turned out to be an all-day affair. First, the pre-funeral family meet-up, then the church lobby meet & greet, then the pre-game huddle with the Sky Pilot, followed by the Parade of Family into the church sanctuary.

It was a fairly typical service. Amazing Grace, the 23rd Psalm, a few hymns, the usual. In a nod to the family's Caledonian heritage, the recessional was 'Scotland the Brave'. If you can't have that played on a herd of bagpipes, I'm here to tell you that hearing it thunder through a pipe organ is an acceptable substitute!

Afterwards we did a post-service reception, and spent a couple of hours catching up with all the family members that you only see at weddings and funerals. Aunt Mary was a gracious soul, and even if you weren't officially family, you were always welcome in her home. So, we saw a bunch of ex-husbands and ex-wives who came to pay their respects, along with stepchildren and other assorted folks that I honestly never expected to see again. Turns out that husband #1 of one of my cousins (she has had several since...) who was instrumental in teaching me to play poker and hunt deer has been working downtown not three blocks away from my office. I can't recall how much money he won from me playing cards, but that was before I learned that one of life's rules is not to play poker with guys called "Doc".

I was about worn out after the reception. Call it emotional overload, I suppose. Alas, one more gathering afterwards just for family. Several bottles of wine later, we finally broke up the party at 11 p.m.

So, a sad occasion, but much joy in seeing the family as well.

A final note: My aunt had requested that her body be donated to science after her death. My cousins chose a company called MedCure. This company handles all the arrangements, works with med schools and hospitals to ship the deceased, and following whatever procedure is done, cremates the body and returns the ashes to the family within a month, all free of charge.

If you're already contemplating cremation, you might give this some thought. You might end up doing some good, and as an added benefit, you completely bypass the vultures in the corporate funeral industry. And that makes Baby Jesus smile.