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Browsing Tag: funeral

On Showing Up

My cousin Joe passed away two weeks ago–he was 80, and had been in diminishing health. Joe and his wife, Ro, are some of my favorite people in the extended family: funny and smart and to me, growing up, the epitome of class. Ro was gorgeous and always put-together, and Joe was friendly and interested. They were loving, funny, Ro dry and sarcastic, Joe silly. She’s Italian and petite, he Irish, tall and lanky. They made me feel comfortable, even when I was young girl quaking with discomfort in large gatherings of strange relatives. But here’s the thing I always admired most about both of them: Joe and Ro were “show-uppers.” Joe and Ro were the distant cousins who come to everything, surprising us every time, even though we shouldn’t have been: all the family events, big and small, no matter the distance. When we threw my mom a surprise birthday dinner in Hershey last December, they were there, despite the late hour, the dark roads from Wynnewood, and Joe’s declining health. When my father died nine years ago, they drove out not only to my…

Okay, Then

When my grandmother passed away this past December, we prepared to take the girls to Maryland for her wake and funeral. Saoirse just happened to have a doctor’s appointment around this time, and I asked her pediatrician for advice on explaining what we were about to do. He told me simply, “You don’t have to explain anything to her. If she asks, just tell her that Grandmom went to heaven.” I remember looking at Saoirse, then back at him. But she’s only three, I told him. Isn’t that sort of an abstract idea for a three-year-old? The good doctor shrugged before he replied: “Isn’t it an abstract idea for any of us?”    Flash-forward to today. We were at Arlington National Cemetery paying a visit to the grave of my dear dad (who’s parked right next to the visitor’s center, by the way. Cannot imagine a more appropriate place for my über-friendly father). Saoirse spotted the powerful Air Force Memorial as we moved through the cemetery. “I remember that!,” she exclaimed, eyeing the soaring spires. &#8220…