Thursday, September 30, 2004


The funeral is over finally. I am grateful. Normally I tell you details of my adventures, but this one would hurt to much to share a direct hit with you. It is too soon, too raw. I will say this: I now understand the story of sleeping beauty. Angel looked like the teenage princess she was becoming. Tall, with wild dark brown hair and ice blue eyes that were the very example of what the color should look like. Her grandfather's eyes: neither of her parents eyes were blue. The fact that they were closed forever was the closest thing to a travesty I will probably ever come. You could see the disability still. Her left hand was still bent at an awkward angle. She never could lie straight, so she was placed in her coffin lying on her back with her legs folded to the side. Despite that, she was beautiful. Her parents often worried about that, about how they could protect her. She was helpless in a wheelchair, and yet she was stunning. The fact that she was not alive, never able to achieve all that promise, eats at me even now.
And the aggravation of the service is almost beyond description. The United Baptist service the night before was an insult. How any preacher could sand beside her coffin and preach about sin and hellfire was beyond me. She had never experienced the former, so she would never see the latter. All the preacher did was tell us all we were going to burn if we didn't use her death as a warning. The only warning I got from it was not to snore, horse laugh, and snarl in disgust all at once, and too noticeably. The actual funeral service was much better. Yes, there was the usual Christian propaganda, but it was humanely short. The service actually reflected her personality, who she was. A former teacher of hers shared how Angel was in the first class she ever taught after she graduated from college later in life. And, after teaching her a year, Angel inspired her to specialize in teaching special education for the rest of her career. That was what truly needed to be said, how Angel had influenced us all. I went to her casket to say goodbye, slipped off my pinky garnet ring and placed it in her hand for the journey. And all I could do was walk away.
An aside now. To give credit where it was due, my extended family actually behaved like adults. I was both astounded and relieved. Usually, this bunch use family gatherings to pretty much try to slash each other to emotional (and sometimes physical) ribbons. They may not have talked to one another, but at least they didn't fight. Kudos.