My grandfather’s funeral was probably the simplest one I’ve ever seen.

With a snow storm expected, we decided to eat breakfast, do a slightly late checkout to work with the timeframe of the funeral, then head over to the tiny backwoods church where he would be buried.

Looking back at childhood trips to the area and now over a month out from the funeral, I’m grateful my dad and Uncle Clark did take us out there a couple times as kids, that I was able to at least recognize where I was and know where my grandma’s grave is. I was also glad that my introduction to the place wasn’t, well, a funeral.

We were all early because we’d actually left early to make sure we could find the place. We were the only ones who’d spent the night–the rest of the family, which was mostly just my uncles and cousins, drove out that morning, Uncle Eric with the hearse following him so they knew where to go. Leave it to Pap Pap to have a complicated funeral with a viewing on one end of the state, then the other, then back to be buried.

I should use it as a starting point for a work of fiction someday. Because it’s such a small graveyard behind a church and we beat the hearse there, we were waiting around a bit around an empty hole that partially exposed Grandma Carol’s grave next to him. For the record, she is most certainly not happy being buried next to him for eternity.

One of the relatives who lives in the area came–what’s interesting is that there were enough of us out there that a road near the church has the family name, which is pretty cool. And like, well, basically everyone else on that side of the family, he was…a character, cracking all sorts of jokes and making comments that normal people would probably consider inappropriate for a funeral.

We had a small prayer service with the family and the church’s priest, and then we pretty much went our separate ways. I told Uncle Clark I’d try to come out and visit, and he said he’d try to come home more. I know how people say things like that with good intentions but never do it, but I’m hoping we actually follow through.

I was exhausted when I got home. I’d only taken on bereavement day–although I should’ve taken the three I was allowed because damn it, I was tired and just needed a break–and the timing of when we left meant I had it to myself, which was nice. It gave me a day just to sleep in and chill out.

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