Monday morning we woke up and prepared ourselves to help Pops say goodbye to his dear wife.
Before we could hit the road we made sure that everyone had a proper formal shirt and tie for the viewings. Then, I had to run a miniature clinic on tie tying. It had been quite a while since my brother had worn one, and Sister's beau had apparently not been required to since his childhood, clip-on days. The poor rabbits had to circle several trees before successfully ducking down the hole, but we got there, and it was a welcome smile to tide us during the next several hours.
The home was very pleasant. They also solved a grammatical issue I've wondered about - there's usually a sign in the lobby of such an establishment directing the visitors to the proper room for their viewing, just in case the staff happen to be unable to greet folks upon arrival. Such signs usually just have a name and room - Bob Smith, Chapel A; Mary Jones, Chapel B. After all, one can hardly say "We welcome Bob Smith" or "Now presenting Mary Jones." This home said "Caring for ________" on the sign, and I found that the perfect tone.
They were, of course, really caring for Pops, and for all of us. Everyone needs to work out their grief, and a public testimony strikes me as a healthy part of the process; not that we should make every step a public occasion (he said on his blog), but this was important. This was good. We all saw members of the family who had been absent for many years, though never too far from our thoughts. Email and cel phones help close the gap, but there's something about being there together.
It's no wonder that in between the two viewings, many of Pops' kids and their families went next door for a large dinner. There was a lot of catching up to do, and a lot of news to share. Pops did not come; it wasn't the right time for him, and a few of the family stayed with him instead. Each was a proper ministering.
All throughout the two viewings, a remarkable assortment of people came to offer their respects - all of the folks Pops knew through volunteering at the firehouse, and neighborhood friends, and more nephews and cousins; even friends he'd known from 35 years ago when he lived on Long Island, who had moved to a different part of Florida and made the trip when they heard.
I've always known that Pops and Grandma love us all; it's amazing and wonderful to see how much they are loved in return.
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