Several years ago, a friend and co-worker passed away. He worked in the same department that I do. He had been ill and in the hospital for a short period of time previous to his death. It was still hard on the people in our department. This is the first time I remember having a co-worker this close to me die. It was also the first time that I remember going to the visitation and funeral for a co-worker. My friend was also African-American so it would also be my first black funeral.
A few years ago, I was at a visitation at the funeral home for a family member that I didn't know that well. There were several family members there that I know I had met in the past but I rarely ever saw them so in many ways it was like meeting them for the first time. At one point, I found myself standing with my aunt and her daughter. They were among the few people there that I knew well. My aunt introduced us to one of her cousins that I had heard of but didn’t remember ever meeting. We were making small talk and someone asked him how he had been doing. He said, “I buried my wife earlier this year.” My cousin replied, “Well congratulations!” She thought he had said that he married his wife. I gave my cousin a confused look and her mother shouted her name. We quickly sorted out what had happened and were able to get a laugh out of the situation. That year for Christmas, my cousin received hearing aid batteries as a gag gift.
When my grandfather died, I remember being at the funeral home with my family. I remember that a lot of people came to see us during the visitation time. My family and I were in the process of moving back to the West Tennessee area and we had the opportunity to see a lot of people that we hadn’t seen in a while. My children were very young at the time and everyone wanted to see them too. There wasn’t very much opportunity for me to spend much time alone with my mom. There was one occasion where I my mom and I were alone next to my grandfather’s casket. As we looked at him, I told my mom “He just doesn’t look like himself. He just doesn’t look right being here at the funeral home without food on his tie and his fly unzipped.” It seems like every time we were there, there was the same conversation between me and my six male cousins: “Ok, who’s going to tell granddad that his fly is unzipped THIS time?”
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller