CHAPTER 6
Tuesday Morning

With all of the consideration that I had grown accustomed to from this son-in-law, I wasn't surprised that he called me early this Tuesday morning and asked if I would like to go along to pick out the casket. I readily said I would like that very much, but I was on my way to Mass; would he pick me up in about forty-five minutes? This he agreed to do.

When I pulled my car back into the driveway, Fran was already there and waiting with his oldest brother, who was constantly at his side or in the nearby background, eager to assist his younger brother in any situation. As soon as I saw Fran, and with the beautiful music from Mass still in my ears, I began to cry for the first time since Rose's passing the day before. All 1 could say was "Fran, I shouldn't be doing this to you."  His eyes grew misty and out there on the driveway he put my head on his shoulder and said, "We'll both make it, Mom. We' II be all right:

With the business at the funeral home taken care of, we went to the rectory to arrange for the funeral Mass and the buying of the cemetery lot, with Fran making sure that his final resting place would be beside Rose.

Before I had left home, my husband and I had talked it over and decided that if there was space we would like to buy nearby. Luckily there was room right next to Rose's plot.

Tuesday Evening

It was Fran's decision to have a closed casket, because of the tender years of the children. In fact, he said that he and Rose had discussed this at one time; that in the event either one of them passed away while the children were still young, it should be this way.

The plans were that if the immediate family wanted to go early Tuesday evening the casket would be open a short time.

We understood Fran was to go up at 6:30, and he advised us to go at about 7:00 o'clock.
I walked with my family into that funeral parlor feeling just as good as I could be expected to feel under the circumstances. I have always prided myself on being a person of very strong character, and never wanting to show my weaknesses before my young children (and I certainly did have weaknesses).

When I stood beside the casket and looked upon the beautiful face that I had known for thirty-one years, I felt I was standing there all alone, but I was not, of course.

I looked for two things: a broken-off fingernail on the middle finger of the right hand, among  nine other nails that were perfectly shaped. I was glad they didn't replace it with an artificial one. And I checked both of her earlobes because she had from birth one round earlobe and one that was squared off. Making sure of these two things and satisfied that they were as I remembered them, I wanted her to understand this was not the way I wanted things to end, and I proceeded to tell her so, at which time I patted her cheek. It was at this moment that my knees refused to hold me, and I began to wonder where this strong woman was that for so many years I prided myself on being (secretly, of course). My husband and I sat down with the rest of our children around us, and soon it was time for Fran to bring the children.

He called the parlor from home and this was the signal to close the casket and place the big spray of beautiful red roses on top with the inscription on the ribbon: " Love Always."  And I was glad.

This decision of my son-in-law's was probably the best one he ever made because the children knew enough to kneel on the kneeler and pray, and they knew that their sacrifice, as hard as it was, was the best thing for their Mommie. They walked around and talked to the relatives there, and received a lot of well intended advice, heard a lot of nice things about their mother, and for all of this I feel they have adjusted much better.

Wednesday

Wednesday, in the afternoon, I thought a lot of relatives and friends had passed through the funeral home, but Wednesday evening the number of people who came, well, it just would be impossible to tell because there were many I saw whose names were not on the register. From where I sat I only saw a sea of faces. Some got close enough to say a few words to me, and some just smiled at me through the crowd and for some there was just a hand clasp. Many of our friends couldn't talk about it, but they came, one and all. Brothers, sisters, grandmother, aunts, uncles, great-aunts and great uncles, cousins, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, brothers-in law, neighbors, school chums, teachers who taught Rose in school and the teachers who were teaching her children. Priests were there and nuns, and even our dear pastor, Msgr. Michael Walz, who had visited her several times at the hospital and who, within a few short weeks, was laid to rest himself.

After you have an experience like that, you forget all the bad that is in the world because so much of the good comes shining through.
Many hundreds of dollars were left there for Mass stipends, but many more hundreds of dollars were left to help Fran care for the children. People brought food and offered their services. People not only came to the funeral home, but they came to our house, to both of our homes, asking to help. Some of these people I know had hired help, but at a time like this were willing to put their shoulder to the wheel and help.
Before I close the door on Wednesday's happenings, I would like to add that with all of this going on, the neighbors who lived close to my daughter and son-in-law were all planning the noon and evening meal for the funeral the next day, and they decided that since the people directly across the street had the largest home and a lovely finished basement that it should be there, to which they all agreed. The owner of this house was the same gentleman who accompanied Fran to Cleveland on that final trip. These neighbors planned and fixed everything.

I want my readers to note that I have avoided using names, because there were so many people who did so many wonderful things. When you start using names there is always someone who has unintentionally been omitted.

(End of Chapter 6)


I Love You, Mom
HOME
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
LINER NOTES
DEDICATION
TO MY SISTER
INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 1
CHAPTER 2
CHAPTER 3
CHAPTER 4
CHAPTER 5
CHAPTER 6
CHAPTER 7
CHAPTER 8
CENTER PICTURES
CHAPTER 9
A TRIBUTE TO MY PARENTS
CHAPTER 10
CHAPTER 11
CHAPTER 12
CHAPTER 13
CHAPTER 14
CHAPTER 15
CHAPTER 16
CHAPTER 17
CHAPTER 18
CHAPTER 19
EPILOGUE