Rosie’s Funeral

^ My father’s eulogy for his sister Rosie, read by me.

The Giving Tree

~15 minutes, 23 mb

Casey (Rosie’s daughter), Sarah (granddaughter) and Dot (cousin) talk about Rosie.

above: What I said at Rosie’s funeral.


Recessional – Per New Orleans tradition: “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

New Orleans Jazz Band of Austin

cornet – Larmon Maddox

clarinet – Jim Ivy

helicon (tuba) – Mark Rubin

banjo – Tom Griffith

To hire this band (and I highly recommend them!), email Tom Griffith or call him at 512-458-9544

barbecue and music at the Old Coupland Inn

Apr 12, 2006

Funerals are traditionally held three days after the death. As my cousin Casey pointed out, there’s old wisdom in this: at three days, you’re still in shock. By six days (when Rosie’s funeral was held, to give people a chance to arrive from various parts of the world), real pain is beginning to set in. But we all got through the funeral fairly cheerfully, in part because we wanted to make a show worthy of Rosie (and we did).

Ross by Ross – Austin, April 2006

Rosie was in so much physical misery for so many years that I could not, for her own sake, wish her back to life. But it sure hurts that she’s gone. I thought this pain would at least diminish after the funeral. So far, it hasn’t. Thanks to everyone who has offered condolences and advice – it does help.

I’m trying to keep busy, when not simply too tired – crossing the Atlantic twice in six days was inherently tiring, aside from the emotional overload associated with the trip.

We got home Tuesday morning and I worked normal office hours Wednesday through Friday. Saturday I worked in the garden, clearing weeds and planting seeds. The broccoli that Domenico planted for us last fall are sprouting now and very yummy, and some of last year’s lettuce that went to seed has already come back. Beautiful pink tulips are blooming, from a bag of mixed bulbs I bought in Amsterdam last September. The daffodils have come back in force.

I concentrate on renewal and growth – that seems to help. Saturday we bought an apricot tree to plant in one corner of our vegetable garden. I don’t expect it to bear for a few years; perhaps by the time it does I won’t miss Rosie so painfully. In the meantime, I have whole hours at a time when I feel normal, even happy. Then the rollercoaster plunges again and I feel like crying.

June 30, 2006

I still miss Rosie, and probably always will. But I do feel satisfied with the funeral – as Mark Rubin pointed out, the send-off we gave Rosie clearly demonstrated, even to complete strangers, that she was a hell of a lady.

I haven’t been to many funerals, but what little experience I have of them is that they’re often more about what other people think is “right” rather than a celebration of the dead person. But I know there are counter-examples out there. Have you been to a funeral that you felt was particularly appropriate to the memory of the person? Let me know.

3 thoughts on “Rosie’s Funeral”

  1. This is such a beautiful sentiment. And something we rarely get to see. Thanks for sharing this. She seemed like a wonderful person who was very much loved.

  2. When I was fifteen and still Mormon, one of the youth leaders in the local congregation was a wonderful older man we called Jim. He was one of the kindest, happiest, most loving people I’ve ever met, and was always willing to listen or lend a hand wherever he was needed.

    Jim worked as a welder, and one morning, as he was working on repairing the gas tank of a big 18-wheeler, some fumes ignited and the tank exploded. Hundreds of people from all over the city and surrounding area came to Jim’s funeral, and it was the happiest, most upbeat funerals I’ve ever been to. I think Jim would have been happy with the send-off we gave him, too.

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