Saturday, November 29, 2008


My Grandfather's funeral service was yesterday.

The turnout was amazing - we had seating for 250 but the place was packed - standing room only. It was humbling to see how many people came out to honour his memory.... people lining the back and sidewalls, three rows deep in places. The whole production was beautiful.

At the request of my mother, I did read a slightly altered version of my 'tribute' blog post.... the one I typed on the night he died. Four of my cousins and my Uncle also said a few words.

They made me go first.... which, in hindsight, was perfect - because my speech really addressed how we all feel about Grandpa, and was very emotional. And my cousins followed that with some more specific, loving and humorous memories.... we couldn't have planned it better.... and I really think my talk would have been too "heavy" on the heals of their memories. It was good.

But Oh did my throat get tight! I've spoken in front of large groups many times before.... people always tell me I'm good at it, so I must mask my fear well - because I always get nervous and on edge before I have to do it! It's always hard, but this time was by far the most difficult time I've ever had. It was all I could do not to breakdown in front of everyone.... I still don't know how I made it through without doing it.

It sounded fine the couple of times I practiced what I was going to say.... and I was perfectly fine walking up there.... but when I got to the podium and turned to face the audience, I was completely overwhelmed by the crowd - not just the sheer size of it, but by the common purpose that brought them all out there and what it meant to my Grandmother and my family.

My throat just about clamped shut. I did make my way through it though.... fighting tears with every line. And as I gazed over the faces in the crowd, I was humbled again to see many of them losing that same battle.

This was my first funeral. Not the first one I've ever attended, but the first one where I had a deep emotional connection to the deceased.... my first loved one's funeral. And it's really a cleansing process. The tears and emotions and memories and laughs.... it actually brought a sense of closure to me in this whole affair.

Which I guess is the point after all....


Anonymous said...

So good to hear, Shannon!

Anonymous said...

I am sure your reading touched many people ... I know your post touched me and I didn't even know your grandfather. So glad you were able to do that.

Christina said...

It sounds it was a beautiful and fitting tribute to a great man. So sorry for your loss.

cherrie said...

i got tears in my eyes reading this blog--hugs shannon