Monday, November 12, 2012

ave maria

My wife got a call from one of her closest friends. She called to say that her mother had passed away and the funeral was scheduled for Monday. Her mother had been ill for quite a while and her time had come.

My wife arrived at the funeral chapel and stood quietly just inside a doorway as the service commenced. The proceedings were filled with praying and psalms and organ music and singing and Jesus — all of the things a textbook Catholic funeral should include. After the service, my wife greeted and consoled her friend Lisa. Lisa reintroduced her father to my wife. They had met once before, but it was the polite thing to do. Lisa's dad Vince was visibly distraught. He managed to display a brief smile and he embraced Mrs. Pincus and thanked her for coming. Soon, the attendees dispersed, some returning to their regular day's business while others queued up in their cars to continue on to the cemetery. My wife decided to accompany the small contingency to witness the burial.

The praying and psalms continued, followed by each member of the assembly placing a flower atop the casket. Afterwards, as few attendees lingered with family, Lisa's dad threw a burly arm around my wife's shoulders. Teary-eyed, he thanked my wife again for coming and for her support for Lisa.

Mrs. Pincus said, "It was a lovely service and a beautiful tribute to your lives together."

Vince, steeped in the ancestry of Old World Italians, recounted, "I saw her every day. In her sickness, some would have walked away, but I believe that marriage is a commitment... a commitment you make forever. I told her, just before she passed, that I would marry her again if I was given the chance. I said if there is marriage in Heaven, please wait for me. Don't get married in Heaven. Wait for me because I will marry you again in Heaven when my time comes."

He shook my wife's hand, lightly squeezed his daughter's shoulder and started off toward the cars parked on the cemetery grounds.

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