Funeral Cousins

Funeral food

Funeral Food

“We’re going to a funeral” my mom announced when I got off the train last month. I hadn’t exactly brought “funeral” clothes but my mom assured me you can wear anything to funerals these days. Fortunately, I had a small window to stop in at my favorite resale shop in town to get something appropriate, at least according to my standards.

The funeral crossed state lines which included a bridge. I hate driving over bridges but I couldn’t tell her that.

Her first cousin had died, she hadn’t seen her for many years and I even more. Like many funerals, I felt I got to know her more from the shared stories than my handful of memories. Seems like part of the loss.

My distant cousins were there too. I hadn’t seen most of them since childhood so it became like a family reunion right before the service. “I remember sitting in the car with you at one of the reunions listening to the Beatles right after they came out!” remarked one cousin. That might have been the last time I saw her until that day.

We didn’t go to the cemetery as my mom wasn’t feeling well so we waited in the church hall and watched the serving bowls go on the tables. There must be a category of “funeral food” in some cookbook as the menu is always about the same and chock-full of comfort. Might be sacrilegious but I do like those lunches.

A few more “so good to see you” and “let’s stay in touch” and we headed back over the bridge.

I often lament the miles between my mom and me but on the funeral day I felt the tug of separation from all the cousins I used to know by name and face. Was sad we had to re-introduce ourselves in our adult clothes and wondered what our lives would have been like if no one had moved away. But we did.

The older I get, the more precious are the connections. Oh for just one more family reunion!

Do you see your distant cousins?

Hope for the best,

Tish

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2 Responses to “Funeral Cousins”


  1. 1 Robin Spalding Vaccaro July 25, 2016 at 7:10 PM

    Oh Tish – I can truly relate to this post! If my parents hadn’t moved to California you and I would have been very close friends, for sure. We are cut from the same cloth in so many ways!

    Although not funeral related, my fondest memories of the Spalding and Schwartz families were the family reunion picnics. They were the best. Everyone brought their favorite prized recipe to share, the kids had the fun of churning homemade ice cream and the men threw horseshoes while the kids played and women caught up on the latest going ons.

    After my husband and I had been married for four years, we moved to the little town (“small” would be too big a word to describe it) of Colusa CA. We went to many funerals and luncheons. I have to say, the food at those luncheons was some of the best I have ever eaten. It ranged from salads of every variety, every kind of casserole you could imagine to endless choices of desserts – cookies, cakes, pies, candies, etc. All of it was accompanied with endless iced tea and lemonade. Now I know why wakes are always a happy time. It’s not just because you’re remembering and honoring who just left but to also celebrate who is still here and get another opportunity to re-connect.


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