Funerals manage to bring out the worst in me in by the fact that they bring together, in one room, all the things that truly irritate me in life: flowers, the cloying smell of old-lady perfume, and cigarette smoke…and embalming, and caskets, and funeral homes…and insincerity, and vultures, and weirdo relatives.

It’s a hellish trifecta of allergies, religion, and forced association with people I wouldn’t otherwise associate with.

Sailor’s grandmother died and aside from the sheer joy of Sailor coming home for the funeral, I also garnered the smug knowledge of Sailor having relatives scarier than my own; so the funeral was basically a big win for me.

Oh, sure, there’s the grief and everything, but Granny E had a good long run. I fail to see why that is cause for tears.

I’ll admit I am probably wired differently than most, but I see little to cry over in a 90 year old woman who cultivated a life that resulted in the being mourned by extended family and life long friends. She was placed in a beautiful box, with her best suit, surrounded by flowers, letters and pictures. She was visited by at least a hundred people at the funeral home before having a memorial service in her honor and then having a motor parade to beautiful burial ground where I am sure will be placed a beautiful stone.

Aside from disagreeing on the ritual as a whole (embalming, caskets, funeral home), this is still basically what I would call a Good Death.

Think of the thousands of people who die everyday: alone, without burial honor or rites, without anyone to mourn them. Maybe they die brutally, maybe they die anonymously. Not a winter goes by when we don’t hear on the national news about an older person dying of starvation in their home, or who froze to death because they didn’t have the wherewithal to deal with an electric bill, or they die alone, unvisited, unclaimed, in a nursing home.

It’s not bad enough that they die and no one cares, but that maybe they died because no one cared that they even lived. And this happens more than we care to think about. These are not Good Deaths and certainly something to shed a few tears about.

For those who are born and raised here in Erie and live their lives out here, they seem to develop massive networks of friends, friends of friends, and extended friends. People here will drop what their doing and come pay their respects though they may not know the relative you have lost. Honestly, I’ve lived a lot of place and I’ve not seen the likes of it anywhere else. It’s something I have come to appreciate about this place.

So, no, I shed no tears this weekend. I can get verklempt with the best of them, but like I said, Granny E had a good long run and died with family and friends by her side. That’s something to be happy about because Granny E was one of the lucky ones.

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