The Surprise Pallbearer Returns

My grandmother passed away last week. She was a lovely woman (and former beauty pageant queen) who will be missed dearly by my family.

The funeral was rough on me, mainly because it was difficult watching my mom cry. How do you deal with that sight, other than crying yourself? I think the minister put it best when he said that we grieve at funerals because we must confront our own mortality. That's a heavy thing to deal with, and why I don't make it a habit of attending acquaintances' funerals... it's just too much.

But there is an old man named Herb in New York state who seems to thrive on it. I first "met" him five years ago at my other grandmother's funeral. He had been acquainted with her husband decades earlier and showed up at the funeral, which at first seemed nice, but then got weird when he appointed himself a pallbearer at the last minute, even though none of us knew who he was. So the pallbearers were six young grandkids plus this extra old guy who I'm sure my grandmother wouldn't even remember even if she hadn't had Alzheimer's.

Anyway, I still chuckle about the surprise pallbearer sometimes, but I never thought I'd see Herb again. But then he showed up, five years later, at my other grandmother's funeral. He arrived an hour before the service started, at least half an hour before anyone other than immediate family arrived. My grandfather sort of remembered the guy as a fellow community member from back in the day, but seemed confused as to why he would be there.

So it seems like Herb is a funeral crasher. Maybe this old guy just really likes to face mortality head on. Unfortunately for him, Herb wasn't able to insert himself as a pallbearer this time, but I bet he might have tried had my family not given him the cold shoulder. I joked years ago that I wanted to make pallbearing a hobby, but now that I've done it twice, I feel like I'd be glad not to have to do it again for a good long while. I'm sure Herb would be happy to assist, though. If you should find yourself short a pallbearer - or just want a bonus one - give Herb a shot. I don't actually know the guy, so I can't help you get in touch with him, but there's a pretty good chance he might just be at the funeral already anyway.

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