I was so proud of this boy yesterday, when along with his cousin Christina he popped up off the pew in the middle of their Pepe's funeral, walked to the back of the church and carried "the gifts" down to the altar. He did it with determination, intention, confidence and pride. He didn't stumble once, all long skinny legs and big 10 year old feet of him. In the craziness of the morn. and our arrival at the church I thought that he and Chrissy participating in the ceremony had become a foregone conclusion. His Uncle had already begun to sing, high up in the rafters of the church with the organist, and had told him to find a priest and navigate on their own. Somehow he and Chrissy managed to figure out their role and right on cue made their way. Pepe was so proud I'm sure.
The boy is a gift, along with the many gifts we have received this week:
the gift of my proud, strong forever a marine father-in-law passing away peacefully after a good meal and the viewing of his favorite show MASH suddenly from a heart attack on a friday eve. only weeks after it is finally confirmed that he has terminal lung cancer,
the gift of family and friends at his wake that kept my mother-in-law and us all on our feet for several hours overwhelmed with sympathy and empathy,
the gift of a perfectly sunny day for a funeral at an ideal burial spot with a gorgeous view and military honors with a soldier leading a lone horse, his many children and grandchildren as witness,
the gift of my husband's courage not unlike his 10 year old son's who when we realized the priest was not doing his Father justice in eulogizing him, rose from his place in the front pew next to his Mom and marched up to the podium. He did it with determination, intention, confidence and pride. He read the eulogy that everyone was meant to hear, the one that his children had put time and care in to write and that told the story of his life and brought it so perfectly full circle on that beautiful day as his son read.
Pepe and I were both proud.