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  • Sara Moore

Uncles Funeral

I'm not sure where this post is heading, so I'll apologize now if it's a little scattered. 

My uncle Johnny Hanright died last Monday and I headed to Stoneham, MA to be with my family. On Thursday, I attended the wake, Friday went to his service and then the burial on Saturday.  My mom and he were from a family of 6 kids, my mom was the baby and he was the one before her.  Uncle was recovering from pneumonia but was doing great and about to head to rehab.  My aunt got a call Monday morning saying she needed to get there quickly; something had happened and it wasn't looking good.  Within 10 minutes he was gone, before anyone in the family arrived.  In the few days before he crossed, he caught up with family, told people he loved them and announced that he was the luckiest guy in the world.  He had a loving family, the best wife, a perfect 4 month old grandaughter and a rewarding job as Stoneham's Town Clerk. 

It was surreal for me to watch my cousin Johnh navigate the icky waters of losing a parent.  There's no solace, no magic words that can take away the pain and ache.  And worst of all, there's no way to replace that hole that is now ripping his heart apart.  My aunt is amazing and she's got a special place in my heart.  She was obviously heartbroken and moving in a fog.  I think this fog must be a gift, otherwise we'd never make it through those first few days.  My cousin John did the Eulogy.  Well, first Auntie Janie got up and shared some of the memories the nieces and nephews had passed on about Uncle.  Then John got up to speak.  I have to say, I've sent Reiki to many people who seem to be nervous, but I've never sent it with such intent as I did to both of them that day.  I was begging God and my uncle and anyone else listening to give them the strength to get through the day, and then the next, and the next.  What John shared was perfect.  He paid tribute to his father in an eloquent, beautiful way.  And I have no idea how the heck he was able to do it.  He achieved hero status in my world that day!

So whats my point?  I have no idea.  The whole thing was filled with little reminders and lessons for me.  Both he and my mother were loved by so many people, as evidenced by the line of mourners that lined up outside the funeral home to pay their respects and by the stories they shared.  I hope to have that much of a positive impact in this world.  They both lived with passion and an exuberance for life.  I want that, too.  I also was reminded how much I look like my mom, and how grateful I am for the time I had with her.  I had a handful of people I didn't know come right up and say, we know you must be Mary Ellen's daughter because you look just like her.  Every time it gave me a little pang in the heart and a reminder that she's gone.  But it also reminded me that she's closer to me than I think sometimes.

And then there's the whole psychic thing that makes church and memorials a whole different experience.  I could see my uncle, passed along messages from him to my aunt and some family.  I watched him getting closer and closer to the other side until he finally crossed.  I saw my mom with him and watched him reconnect with his spirit family.  In church, I saw the angels that filled the cathedral.  I saw them all bow down as the eucharist was held up.  I think I almost said "WOW, REALLY?" When that happened!  I was an observer at times, as if in school.  Instead of rolling my eyes at the priests and viewing the whole "church" thing as ridiculous.

I watched the whole ritual of the service in a new light.  The priest held up his hands, palms out over the coffin, offering uncle the opportunity to go to God.  I thought, wow, I do that when I give Reiki.  I pass on universal energy.  They wiped the chalace and blessed the gifts.  I love the stones and crystals I have collected and often soak them in salt water.  Kind of the same thing.  They used incense.  I love buring Sage.  It clears me up and makes my house feel pure and safe.  We shook hands with our neighbors, reminding me that as individuals we are only a link in a chain.  When we stand together we have strength. 

And then there was the reminder of family..... And how crazy and good it can be!  That although sometimes family can be a challenge, we have picked them to help us learn our lessons.  And they have picked us as well.  It reminded me how distant I am from my family, and I grieved for my isolation, a has result of moving away and not staying in touch.  I'm sad that I am not in the "inner circle" of family and hope to become closer to them.  I am sad that Zach doesn't know his cousins on my side.  In fact, I think he's only met a few of them once.  Wow.  That sucks. 

I could ramble on and on on this and I thank you for making it this far!  I miss my Uncle Johnny, and my mom.  I know that my cousin and aunt will survive, and the pain will go from raw pain to a dull ache that comes and goes. And I have no doubt at all that my uncle will be right beside his grandaughter throughout her life, and that she'll grow up knowing of him and feeling his presence, just as Zach has with his Grammy Mary Ellen. That is a wonderful thing.  So my final thought, just like a cheesy talk show, is this.  How have you impacted the people and world around you?  If you were to check out tomorrow, would you go peacefully knowing you had accomplished what you came here for? 

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