Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Yesterday was the funeral for Sophie’s friend’s father.

All funerals are very sad, but this seemed extraordinarily so. Mr. Cid was one of 9 children so his extended family is huge. His immediate family is smaller - his wife and his two daughters.

Because the girls go to Catholic school, that meant that Samantha’s classmates could all be in attendence. The 7th graders were there as were the Principal and several teachers who had light teaching schedules that day. It was good to see Sam have so much support.

Three priests led the funeral mass, including one that was no longer at our parish but was close to the family. Sophie and her friend, Jess were the altar servers, having been selected personally by Mrs. Cid. Both had trepidations. Not about funerals. They have served plenty. For kids who serve, weddings and funerals tend to be a bonus for them. It is an opportunity for them to be tipped. God’s little bonus.

This was different. They knew the deceased. They know his family. Are close to them. They were emotional about it and it showed. The girls were so pale in their red cassocks and white albas that I was concerned. Jess’s Mom was as well. But, both girls have been taught that we have obligations to the living and the dead and this was their way to be able help the family. And though afraid, they did their duty.

It is sad that we don’t talk about duties and obligations any more. Remembering them binds us more closely together as people and I think would eliminate the cruelty and even the nastiness that exists in this world.

We could see them crying on the altar. It was heartbreaking when Sam, her sister and cousin came up to eulogize Mr. Sid. Sam was unable to speak and returned to her pew wailing in her grief. Sophie and Jess cried with them and held each other’s hand to give themselves strength.

When the mass was over, I grabbed my Sophie and held her tight. I told her that I loved her and was so very proud of her for being so brave. While I waited for her to change out of her vestments, Fr. McCarthy approached me and told me I should be proud. That these kinds of funerals were the hardest. I assured him that I was proud.

When she came out, it was clear that she was drained. I went to the office and signed her out for the day. There was no chance that she was going to accomplish anything at school that day. She needed time to decompress. When she got home, she slept until dinner time and then straight back to bed.

I can only imagine what kind of shape Sam is in. It isn’t fair that a 13 year old girl should have to suffer this kind of loss. But life comes at us in its own order. Luckily, she has a class full of friends to help her.

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