My Mother died on October 19, 2006. My sister told me to sit in the back of the church at the memorial service before the graveside.
I took one of the priests from my church with me for support at the church and I felt quite strong. I sat in a convenient place, neither front row or in the back where my sister wanted me. The priest at that church came back to me to shake my hand, very pointedly including me. I can thank my minister for speaking to him ahead and making sure he knew of the strained and strange circumstances. There was a eulogy read by My brother’s wife Diane which included the many, many things in her life from honey to rummage sales. Mom had asked for Eucharist, (holy communion) too, which was very nice. Funerals are really a time of celebration of the soul returning to God, so the coffin was draped in a sumptuous cream-colored cover. Everything was very beautiful.
The priest wore a capa negra or black cape made especially to go over vestments at a funeral in cold weather. It was a very dramatic touch at the graveside. A friend of the family handed me a yellow long-stemmed rose to put on the coffin as I left. The prayers were very comforting and beautiful. It snowed. It was a beautiful soft blanket in the sky for the day – something she would have loved and even photographed. I know I will get in touch with some people and write some thank-you notes, as well I should.