“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
― Markus Zusak, I am the Messenger
I went to a funeral Monday. To the very young, it’s news. To the very old, it seems to be more than an every-now-and-then occurrence. To a middle-aged woman, who majored in journalism and minored in sociology it was sweet.
The Eulogies were…. Strike that. Eulogies The tributes, as the family preferred to refer to the speeches were very touching. First the husband spoke about being in love with his gracious and classy wife. He spoke of the first day he saw her, at a dance at the 92nd Street Y, in New York City, when he was a World War II GI. He spoke about assuming she’d be a very smart lady, as she was from the Bronx.(He lived in Brooklyn at that time, and bombed German cities and Nazi armories and military strong points) He spoke about her beautiful smile and the respect he has, and always will have, for her. She could have gone to school at the New York Fashion Institute, but instead she earned a “PhT” from the polytechnic institute that he graduated from. No, not a PhD—a PhT, “Putting Him Through” degree. He hung her certificate next to his diploma wherever he set up office. He never forgot to be grateful of the work she did, sacrifices she made so he could afford to go to school. Back then, as today, the GI Bill didn’t cover all the costs. He ended his tribute by promising to always love her. His friends and family knew that he meant it. He showed his love to her, despite how her brain and looks might have been affected after she suffered a series of strokes, and what seemed to be, the onset of dementia. His annual holiday letter often included photos of his wife, captioned by how beautiful her smile was, and how beautiful she looked. He promised to continue to love her…….
……..They would have been married for 65 years at the end of this month.
Then the grandson-in-law and granddaughter came to the podium and, as you could well imagine, after hearing their grandfather speak, they could barely contain their tears. The husband of the granddaughter also spoke words of respect and praised the dignity in which the woman lived her life, as well as her famous “Harvey Wallbanger Cake.” Yes, the dearly departed could cook. But, it wasn’t just the kitchen that was the warm spot in the household. It was the whole experience of being part of the family one in which the husband lavished praise, love and respect on his wife. You could see it in how he embraced the granddaughter, that the grandson-in-law learned from the old man.
Next it was the son-in-law’s turn to speak. First came praise for how this gracious and dignified woman raised his wife(her daughter) and treated him, as if he were her own son. The respect and dignity and love shown to the women by the men in her family seemed to have trickled down through the generations.
It might not seem an appropriate thing to say. But, this past Monday I truly enjoyed going to a funeral.