Friday was a very long day. I am so proud of Carey. It the midst of the storm, he somehow got himself through work as well as school. He was even able to pay attention well enough in German to remember several new words and phrases that he learned.
Doris' viewing was early evening on Friday; we joined Carey's parents, Stu and Sue, and Carey's sister Sarah. We were actually on time, which was a huge shock. We were all dressed in our best and I was very proud of my little chicks. James wore a suit that Doris had particularly admired him in, Charles was very dashing in a hounds tooth check suit that Sue had bought when James was a baby, and Kitty was adorable in the red plaid dress from Christmas (with black tights in concession for the occasion).
I just wanted to cry when I looked at Deedee (and not just because she looks just like Doris). Last year I bought a huge box of vintage little girl clothes off of Ebay, sight unseen. I know, I know, silly of me. But I lucked out and got some beautiful items that I can't wait for my girls to wear. When it arrived, one item was an adorable little double knit navy sailor dress, size 3T. I immediately knew that Meradydd would wear that to Doris' funeral. I told myself not to be so silly (how could I know something like that) and put it in it's designated box until such time that Deedee was big enough to wear it. It was with some dread that I opened the 2T box in November and hung it in the closet, wondering if I was right. (For those of you that noticed, why would a size 3T dress be in a 2T box? In my experience with vintage clothing, anything over 20 years old generally runs about a year smaller than the label reads.) It was with a heavy heart that I gently buttoned it onto Deedee and then helped her with the matching navy tights before sending her off to find her shoes.
Carey looked very nice in his suit and a muted tie. He originally meant to wear a silk tie from the endangered species line, a blue one with humpback whales, but it needed to be washed. So I quickly mended a hole on the back (not an easy feat with a splinted finger) and laid it on the table so I could hand wash it. I left the room for a moment and when I came back James had thrown it into the washer. Sigh....... The washer ate it. I wore one of my many salwar kameez; a beautiful silver one with pearls beaded on the chest.
This was very emotional for Carey, especially the first moment he saw her. It was his first experience with a close family member and a viewing. She was so beautiful as she laid there, very peaceful and serene. She was Mormon and had been laid to rest in her temple garments and they did a beautiful job with her hair and makeup although we were all in agreement that her lipstick was too dark. Everyone said good bye in our own way as we held and supported each other. James did get up there although it didn't hit him until later that she was really gone. Even Deedee took a quick peek but Charles wouldn't go near her, which was his right. You might be thinking that they were too young, but they all loved her and they each deserved to have the chance to say goodbye to her, in their own little ways. I held her hand for a moment as I accepted that she was really gone and that I would no longer get to speak with her, or see her eyes light up when she saw her great grandchildren coming. This was my first experience as well and I thought seeing her might creep me out but instead I was filled with a deep sadness.
We all went to The Old Peking (excellent restaurant) which we frequented quite regularly with her. We ordered her favorite entree (sweet & sour) in her memory and we all settled down to enjoy a good meal and reminisce about our memories of her. It was now that James realized that Grandma was really gone and held his head in his hands. It was heartbreaking watching him as he quietly cried. Carey's parents had things to do, the kids needed to go home for bed, and soon Sarah and I were the only one's left. We sat and talked for a long time over the last pot of tea. The server quietly cleaned up around us and told us to stay as long as we wished. She had gotten to know us quite well since we were there so often and she was saddened when she was told the news.
Gramma's body is being flown to Stockton on Monday. Stu will be picking up her younger brother Bill (85) and older sister Melba (95) to see her put to rest in the family crypt.