Aunt Annette and I had coffee and cinnamon toast, while we talked about the updating of her will, which she wants to do soon. She expressed concern about not having a co-executor to name, and I told her she was welcome to list me as the co- or contingency executor, if she wanted to.
She seemed incredibly relieved and grateful.
Karen and Joe arrived at about 10:00, and the rest of the crowd trickled in between 10:45 and 11:15.
One family member, Gail, after saying she remembered me when "you were this high," asked, "How old are you now?"
I wasn't thinking and started to say 50, and then stammered, "Actually, 51, today. Today's my birthday."
Uncle Frank's memorial service was in a little catholic chapel, and everyone—around 15 of us—sat, what reminded me of, on "the bride's side." That is to say, we were all on the left side of the church.
Ironically, in retrospect, the "guest of honor" was up on the altar on the other side of the church—the box, and small bag of cremains.
I had so many mixed emotions sitting through mass. It's been forever and a day since I've been, and I'm pretty sure the last time I went was for the funeral of co-worker's daughter ten years, if not more, ago. Some of my thoughts, not necessarily in the order I had them:
- I can't believe I remember all of these responses... "Thanks be to God." "And also with you." "Through Him. With Him. And in Him. In the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours, Almighty Father, forever and ever. Amen."
- I'm surprised these people behind me know the words, too. I'm quite sure most of them do not attend mass regularly, if ever.
- What is it about humans that they would choose to return to a place, from which so much pain has emanated, for some "closure." "The catholic church" was a huge reason that my aunt and uncle gave up their daughter for adoption. It's never been kind or welcoming to me as a homo.
- Did he just say, "...our parishioner, Frank..."? He wasn't a member of this church.
- I wonder if that priest has ever done or said anything inappropriate to that altar boy.
- That's all that's left of a life. That box and little bag over there.
- Should I take communion? The "rules" say I shouldn't. Will there be so few people taking it that it'll be embarrassing?
- Oh my. There are only kneelers on the first row. I wonder how many knees we're going to hear creaking as everyone kneels, most of us all the way down to the floor.
- When the priest said, "Can I impose on someone to bring the gifts to the altar? My first thought was, "Oh no, they are not going to pass the basket." and then "Do they mean move the cremains to the altar from that table?" then, "OH, he's talking about the water, wine and bread for the transubstantiation!"
After mass, we caravaned to the Hong Kong Buffet, which was one of my uncle's favorite restaurants, where our party of 13-15 enjoyed a nice meal over the course of an hour or so.
We had just about an hour back at the house, just the four of us: me, Aunt Annette, Karen, and Joe.
I said my goodbyes to Aunt Annette, and Karen and Joe graciously took me to the airport.
I carefully guarded three books that Karen gave me that my uncle (her father) had written for her, and which I'm going to try to put on DVD.
My flights back were uneventful, albeit unexpectedly crowded for a Monday night. Perhaps because it was Columbus Day, a holiday for many business travelers, who were perhaps doing their normal Sunday night travel on Monday night.