I spent the day Monday going to a funeral for my father's cousin. She's the mother of one of my favorite families. She had just passed right before the past weekend. My father and my aunt were close. My father had lived with her family for some time after his mother's death when he was a child.
I didn't get to see my second cousind as much as I would like, as a matter of fact, I have only attended half of their weddings. Although I regret my possible rudeness in attending, I more regret it more because the weddings I did go to were a blast.
Mary Ellen had moved to Baltimore with her husband to raise their family. It is a hike to go to Bowie(pronounced Boo-eee), Maryland. I thought it would take 3 hours to get there and gave myself 4 hours to get there. I avoided the NJ Turnpike to in order to not pay tolls but really all I avoided was a few bucks because of the Delaware toll scam of charging $4 merely to travel 20 miles, a $3 Maryland toll and a $2 toll for the Harbor Tunnel.
I don't have EZ-Pass. Ca-Ching!
Anyway, true to form, toll roads tend to be slower with traffic and I started to realize I was running late. The funeral started at 10am. I finally got there at a few minutes after. 4+ hours and I still was a little late.
It was a moving ceremony. You don't get me in a church too often but I still enjoy the ceremony of a Catholic mass. Her children did an admirable job recounting their mother's life. I regret that for obvious reasons I would not see her at her own ceremony.
After the cemetery site ceremony and the reception back in the church hall. I was invited back to her grieving husband's place where the whole of the family was present.
I reconnected with the family. I was introduced to children Io have never met. I don't see the family often enough. The kids were great and the older ones are making their way through life in extraordinary ways. I hadn't seen them since they were small children. Living in Seattle made me miss out on much of their lives.
I stayed until after 8:30 pm. I couldn't gracefully leave until the last of my second cousins left. Somehow it still took me more than 4 hours to get home even without the traffic. I got gas twice, once to put enough to get me back to NJ and its cheap gas. The tolls were even higher to get back.
Mary Ellen lived an very full life in her 72 years. She raised four wonderful children and they in turn had blessed her with 11 grandchildren. she had gotten her symptoms on Christmas Day. She returned to her home to spend her last days in her own home. The Christmas tree and its splendid decorations she put up was still set up for her to enjoy in her last days.
I'll miss her. She was the first of the "Bronx" generation of my family tree to pass. She'll be missed by many.