My Uncle passed away a few months back. The day of the funeral the sun was shining as we walked into the church. We did all the “funeral” things you do as family. People offering condolences, telling you how sorry they are, they share in your grief all the while you’re really just trying to hold it together.
The service was amazing. My cousin read a four-page paper of his remembrances of his dad, my uncle. We laughed and we cried. We sing the final song and then, piped loudly through the sound system, “Happy Trails to You” the theme song to the old cowboy show Roy Rodgers. Bob used to always sing it. It made us cry even harder.
The casket is rolled in front of us, we walk out behind it, trying not to look at people, tears in our eyes, smiles on our faces, singing to the song. We get to the back of the church where the hearse is and it’s pouring down rain. I mean pouring! The sun was out an hour ago, now it’s pouring rain. We run to the cars, which, earlier, had been lined up according to relationships to my uncle. Immediate family in limo, brother of deceased (my dad) car is next, then the in-laws then friends.
One of my uncle’s sons, jumps in the car with my dad, his wife, my husband and myself. My kids are with their cousins in other cars. We are shocked at how bad it was raining. It’s a downpour. We get out of the car and there’s only so much room under the tent. Some mourners have umbrella but most don’t. My other cousin pulls out a tarp from his truck and has guys hold it up at the graveside, trying to save everyone from the torrential downpour.
Uncle Bob was a veteran of WW2 and Korea. There was 21 gun salute and taps. It is amazing and always makes me cry. My kids had never seen it. The guns are firing, the bugle is playing, tears are streaming and the rain is pouring, I mean pouring.
As the American flag is being folded, the rain starts to let up. The final prayer is said. The rain stops and the sun comes out. People hug, flowers are laid on the casket and we walk to the car in silence.
When we get in the car, my uncle’s son says, “Crazy how the sun came out there at the end.”
I smiled through tears, and said, “It was God, saying, ‘Be sad and cry during the funeral but, just like the rain dried up, so must your tears. The sun is out and it’s a new, fresh start.’”
…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.