A Good Send-off
We buried Susan M. Glab (nee Parello) Thursday at Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, Illinois. She now lies next to Joseph J. Glab, to whom she stayed married through thin and thin (yeah, you read it right) until he turned in his lunch bucket in March, 1995.
The Chief accomplished every single major goal she’d ever set for herself: she stayed married to the same old bird all her life; she and he owned a comfortable bungalow; they sent all four of their kids to Catholic schools; none of said spawn went to state prison; and she and the Old Man saved up enough dough to take care of themselves through 25 years (him) and almost 30 years (her) of retirement. They were among the last of a breed.
In fact, Ma was the last of her generation to take her leave. Now, my brother, my sister, and I are the old bats of the family. The young ‘uns will be burying us next.
That’s how it goes.
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were fearsomely cold in Chi. Temps dipped down to near -20 ℉ each night with painful winds. Then, on Thursday, the deep freeze broke and temps began rising toward the +20s. Still, the winds howled. The priest rambled on for about 20 minutes during the sermon at The Chief’s funeral mass at St. Odilo’s Parish in Berwyn. I didn’t hear a thing he’d said. His voice may as well have been the muted trumpet of Charlie Brown’s mother in those Peanuts TV specials. I was busy talking to my mother, laying there in her fancy casket. I told her, in a couple of thousand words or so, thanks.
After the mass, the priest led the gang of us from our cars to her grave where velour-covered chairs were set up for the immediately family — even though it was way too blustery to sit. As we walked toward the plot, we leaned in toward the wind so it wouldn’t push us over. I said aloud, “I hope this guy’s got sense enough not to give a long speech.” He did (have enough sense, that is), thanks be to his god.
Then we did the Sicilian thing and ate and drank at a good Italian restaurant like it was somebody’s last day above the Earth. We laughed and cried and everybody promised we’d see more of each other, all the while knowing the next time we all get together just might be for another burial. As we all parted everybody said to everybody else, “I’m sorry we had to see each other under these circumstances.”
But all the while I was thinking how happy Ma would have been to have such a turnout for her funeral. She would have said, “See? They all love me.”
They did. And do.