The funeral I had this week went well.
For those of you that are keeping score;
After the Ebay Auction & Alyx’s birthday, I had to drive to Redding for Dean’s funeral.
I thought I would do better than I did at the funeral. It’s been a long time since I had seen Dean and as much as she was a huge part of my life growing up, I had moved away and lost contact and only got updates when something happened with the Ivey family.
When we walked in there were several photos of her. I couldn’t spend more than a second looking at them because I could feel that tightening in my throat. She was all smiles in her pictures and I had forgotten how when she smiled her eyes got squinty and cute.
Her middle son, Duane, spoke and the tears he was holding back made me want to cry for him so he wouldn’t have to. He told about the moment Dean left this world and how he saw the freckles on her nose just appear. He said the lines in her face just softened…and she was at peace.
When her oldest son, Billy came up to speak the tears and sadness made him pause. His vulnerability caught me off guard. Billy was the strong one in the family, he was their rock…right? When his words finally made it out, the raw emotion tore at me. I had to grab our family rock’s hand. My sister looked at me when I clutched her and I knew at that moment that even though Kathy is strong, this was getting to her too.
The three boys stood in front of her coffin as everyone said their goodbyes. I thought of turning around and waiting in the back for them to come out, but my mom headed to say her goodbye to Dean and I wanted to be strong for my mom. I followed her, but vowed not to look.
A few years ago, my brother’s friend, Timmy died in a car accident. Timmy, Michael (my brother) and Jason (Dean’s youngest) were best friends growing up and even though each of them went in different directions as they got older, there friendship was something that time and distance couldn’t take away.
I hadn’t seen Jason in many years and when I did, he was standing there looking at Tim’s smiling picture, my heart broke for him. He had lost his childhood friend. My brother was strong and probably wouldn’t cry in front of the crowd of people saying their last goodbyes, but Jason wasn’t ashamed and was crying like a little boy. When he saw me standing there wanting nothing more than to hug him and make him stop crying, he came at me with two hugging arms and buried his face in my shoulder and cried.
I felt horrible. His sobs were accompanied by a gagging cough. He pulled away from me with wide eyes and started laughing.
“I just inhaled and choked on your hair!” We both started laughing and the tears stopped for awhile.
Today he had that boy-like look about him as he cried and hugged people saying good bye to his mother. My eyes locked with his and his head cocked to the side a little bit and his eyebrows rose as he tried not to cry any harder. He didn’t stop staring at me until I got over to him. He pulled me into hug me and I stopped him.
“Hold on Jason, let me pull my hair back so you don’t choke on it.”
He smiled…and then he laughed when he remembered. He pushed my hair aside and hugged me and giggled again. For a brief moment, during that day, that bitter sweet day, he laughed.
I was wrong about my brother though. He did cry. There is something heart shattering about seeing a grown man cry. I never wanted to see it again because the squeezing of my heart would never be able withstand that pain. Today I watched three grown men stand in front of their mother’s coffin and cry. For a second I realized that those could be my brothers someday and the wave of emotion finally hit me. I walked up behind my mother who always seemed so tall and strong and hugged her. She felt smaller than before. She felt fragile in my arms.
“Mommy, I don’t want you to die. I don’t want to see you like that.” I had broken my vow not to look into the coffin. “promise me.”
I knew she couldn’t though, and my heart shattered in my chest for the hundred time in an hour.
I promised that I wouldn’t start crying until I got home and locked the bedroom door to write this post. The tears haven’t stopped yet.
On the way back to my mom’s house we heard a song by MercyMe. The song is called, “I Can Only Imagine”.
During the funeral everyone that took a moment to speak about Dean mentioned how she sang all the time. She sang Elvis songs every single day of her life. She danced too. Her and my mother would dance in her living room to Jailhouse Rock. Dean would end the song with, “Thank you…Thank you very much.”
In the song by MercyMe the lead singer is talking about what it will be like when he goes to Heaven and sees Jesus;Surrounded by Your glory,
what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You Jesus
or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence
or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah?
will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagineDean……she’ll dance.