My sister-in-law’s mother passed away on July 1st, 2014. She was only 69 years young. She was a beautiful, nice, always friendly lady who I was able to get to know through my sister-in-law, Jennie.
Casey and I left at 9:00am on July 6th to drive to Barrington IL where the family would be holding the service for Pam. I was a little nervous since my mom had told me that there could be 500 people in attendance. Also because I am a sympathetic crier, I knew that I would just start crying when I saw others crying or when I saw Jennie and her siblings I would just cry for them.
When we arrived in town, we had some time to get ready and then we headed over to the church for the viewing. The viewing was from 2pm to 8pm. First of all, if this was for one of my parents, I would have never lasted that long on my feet greeting people. That is a very long time for anyone. The first person we saw was Darren who looked exhausted and this was just the start of a very long day for them. Next we saw Madi who gave us huge hugs. I spotted Jennie out of the corner of my eye and started tearing up even though she was not. One by one we were hugged by Jennie, Sean and Morgan, Jamie, Shelby and Annie. They all seemed to be holding it together really well. I realize that people all grieve in their own ways but I was really surprised.
As the day went on mom, dad, Casey, Shannon, Steve and I kept to a corner of the room where the family knew if they needed a quick break, they could come sit with us for a bit. I noticed again that most of the family kept it together even when being hugged by those crying. They seemed really brave or maybe it was still so unreal to them and that got them through the day.
Darren told us we could leave around 7:30 and that he would meet up with us for a very late dinner. He came alone which I believe probably helped him since he could just relax and talk about whatever he wanted since no one was around to hear.
Monday, July 7th, they family held the service for Pam at the same church were the viewing took place. This was Pam’s church for many years. I walked in and already the tears started flowing and nothing was even happening yet. The church filled up quickly; I’m not sure of the count but probably close to 300. There was no casket, just her urn. The family came in last and took their seats. I was crying again as were a lot of those in attendance. Mom passes Kleenex to Casey, Shannon and I.
The service starts and at one point, people are encouraged to stand up and share something about Pam. Here is where the tears really started again, hearing all the nice kind words through choked back tears. Now the grandchildren all go up and the older ones all read a passage from the bible. I actually didn’t cry for this. They were all so brave up there and I was really impressed. Next Jennie and her siblings all take turns talking about their mom.
As I am typing this, I am tearing up. Can you say BIG cry baby!! I had to get more Kleenex. The service continues on and all the while I am thinking to myself how will I handle it when one of my parents dies. Not very well I imagine. I will not be able to hold back the tears when people approach me to talk about them and provide hugs for comfort. Or will I be so numb that I will hold it together for the hours of mourning with everyone? I can tell you that my siblings may be able to get up and talk about them but I will not. Not because I don’t want to, but because I am very fearful when it comes to speaking in front of people. Especially when I have to I speak very quickly. Plus, with the fact that I will be crying uncontrollably, you wouldn’t be able to understand a word I said anyway. We all grieve in our own ways, and my way is to cry through it!