89. Funeral Fun

89. Funeral Fun

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Matters

Funeral Fun

A guest never knows how much to laugh at a family joke.

~Author Unknown

My family has always been, shall we say, a little different. Growing up, I assumed that everyone’s uncle was still best friends with his childhood girlfriend, and by default, that made her an aunt to the rest of us, even if she already was married to someone else. I assumed that funerals were meant to be laughed during, and that pizza was supposed to be topped with mustard and catsup.

For me, this was normal. It was my family, and I loved them to death. But for those not born into this mess we refer to as family, it can take a while to get used to.

A while back, my cousin was dating a sweet, young girl from Alabama. She was a pre-med college student, had a great head on her shoulders, and was everything my cousin ever wanted. They had been dating for a while, and we had yet to see her at any family functions. But when our great-grandmother passed away, she decided to join him at the funeral to offer her support in our time of grief. Little did she know, she was walking into a Scott funeral, where the “usual” for us might come across as offensive to others not privy to our nature.

We were all quite excited to meet this girl, and I seem to remember that we set her up in something similar to a receiving line so we could all say our piece and welcome her. We took full advantage of this and swarmed her like bees to honey, asking questions about her family and her life. We picked on her for dating my cousin and asked if she was slumming that day simply because she hadn’t found anything better to do on a Saturday afternoon.

If that wasn’t awkward enough, shortly after her arrival, she was ushered in (sans my cousin) for a full viewing of our great-grandmother in her casket. She made the usual comments about how sorry she was and how beautiful my great-grandmother looked.

While she was making her comments, my family started being, well, my family. We told stories that would make the dead blush, laughing about my great-grandmother’s kooky nature. We laughed about the pizza she wanted shortly before her passing, with mustard and catsup and pickles galore. We giggled, we joked, and we picked on everyone present. We were living, and we loved.

During the service, my family sat in the front and stifled giggles as the preacher recited memories of my great-grandmother. She was just as silly as the offspring she produced, and we couldn’t help but burst out laughing as we remembered those times together.

My cousin’s poor girlfriend just sat back and watched us with horror in her eyes. I was quite sure that we would never see her again when my father commented, as the hearse departed from the funeral home, “It’s just like her to have to be at the front of the line.” Our fit of giggles began once again as we made our way to the funeral procession line.

As the casket was lowered into the ground, we smiled and knew that my great-grandmother was looking down on us, smiling at our jokes. We experienced that day in the way she would have—with elation that she was finally going home. To those who observed us that day, we must have seemed like a bunch of wackos, but to the Scotts, this was the norm.

I am happy to report that my cousin’s then-girlfriend has now become his wife. We told him that if she stuck with him after meeting us like that, she was a keeper. We have welcomed her into our little family of nuts with open arms and lots of jokes, and that will never cease. She apparently doesn’t have anything better to do these days either, because you can still find her “slumming” with us at family get-togethers.

While some may look at my family and see them as “a little off,” I see a group of people who brush off the norms of society and live for the moment at hand. This love of life is the greatest gift anyone could ever receive, even if it means eating pizza topped with mustard and catsup.

~Shannon Scott

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