They walked in with their beautiful suits, their black, their eyes sad with grief, wondering if she would be on the dining table. They figured she probably wouldn't be. But, they still told of how it's done in Ireland. Americans take a bit of license with tradition. The local funeral home provides all the support. Even in Ireland now, local funeral homes are used for the wake. This funeral home is more than the just the local funeral home though. They are extended family. It's a small town and everyone's more than what they would be lost in the crowd of a larger town. Everyone grows up knowing everyone else. It was family taking care of family in these last moments.
She lived in this town for 50 years and the standing room only space reflected she was still the life of the party. She came here as a 17 year old rose from Ireland. So everyone came to say good-bye.
It was almost like it was her dining room in the large reception room, as family and friends greeted the travelers from Mayo and New York, all over New England, and even,Virginia. There were Tiffany memory lights on every table with wishes for the family to keep her memory as lights were shone. Flowers were fanned out, cascading, and soft hues of pink and white, and green. Lots of green. Photos covered walls in the vestibule and more photos faded in and out on a screen remembering her. Bits of Eire were everywhere; Gaelic, Claddaghs, emerald green, Celtic crosses, the lilt of language.
I felt like I got to know her that much better as we gathered close to remember her. It was a sweet farewell.