My Mom died in San Antonio, TX in January 2002. She was 76.
Once we all gathered in town for her funeral, we decided to conduct a memorial service in the chapel at the Sunset Memorial Park Funeral Home on Austin Highway. It was conducted at 1600 hrs. on 12 Jan 2002.
In attendance were relatives from all over the States, co-workers of Mom’s from the Air Force as well as “the Neighbors” – her local social and drinking club. Neither my brother nor my sister had any interest in speaking, so it kinda fell on me to say a few things about Mom….
I thought about what I was going to say, and how I was going to say it throughout the day, and getting close to 4, I had no still had no idea on what to say. As people began to settle into their seats it finally dawned on me! My inspiration came from the old Bob Newhart skits of the 60’s.
I was the third person to speak, following a cousin and a Neighbor. As I introduced myself, my cell phone rang! I took it out of my coat pocket, and much to the horror of those in attendance – and my sick amusement – I looked to see who was calling. I then looked up and said, “I had better take this.”
The looks in the congregation were priceless! Some folks gasped, others glared and a few brought their hands to their mouths. I had told no one what I was going to do…
“Hello, Mom?” I answered, “we were just talking about you!” The ‘relief’ in the congregation was instantaneous, and I continued. “How are you?”
“You’ve been out shopping already?” (Laughter – Mom was the commensurate shopper.)
“Have you seen Dad?” I asked. (She did not particularly care for dear ole dad…)
“You, you say he’s not registered?” Oh…
“Is Sally here?” (Mom always bitched about Sally being late for everything).
“Yeah Mom, we told her the service was at 3:30, and she was 15 minutes early!”
“Did Milt get a haircut for the service, you ask?”
“Mom, Milt never got his hair cut while you were here – why do you think he would get a haircut now?”
…and so on, for about 3 or 4 minutes. Whatever came to mind, I had fun with it. Then, when I felt I had gone on long enough, I closed with, “You say you have to go now?” and I about lost it. I was saying good bye to Mom… but I managed to come out with, “Okay Mom, I’ll see you again soon – when you walk through my mind…” And the tears came as I sat down.
It was really quiet in there for a moment or two. Then the minister got up, and continued with the service.
Later, at the reception, I received several very kind comments, and 3 ‘bookings!’ One lady told me, “Bobby, at one point we thought you really were talking with your Mom.”
And, at one point, I think I was…
Incredible! How did you come up with that? You are, perhaps the most creative person I know. I thought about my own mom`s passing as I read this, and felt a thrill go through me. “Poignant” is the right word for this. When I called you “creative”, I`m not just blowing smoke up your CHEX tail. Bringing spontaineity and wit and intelligence into the “here-and-now” is a rare thing…..
Thank you Mike…