November 21st Thursday ( I wrote this last week but I needed to wait to post it until I was ready)
Washington, DC, is crowded, and it is tough to get places on time.
We had a service memorializing my Mother at Christ Church in Georgetown. It is a lovely church with terrible parking problems. It is not very big, but when you are 101, you have fewer friends to fill a church.
My sister and my nephews and their wives were all staying here at Underoak. The house was mother’s, and it is where I have been living. It is stressful to have people here at this time. They are everywhere, looking at albums and scrapbooks, and just taking it all in. Yet, I know I would be doing the same if I were in their shoes. It is natural.
Limousines were ordered, and we went early. They had us waiting in the chapel with all of our children, my ex-husband, ex-wife of one son, and some extraneous lovers, girl-friends, cousins by marriage. It was gratifying, really inspiring, to see how many children and grandchildren we produced. And they are all nice. I love them all, and they make me proud…
I was so upset about the church, furious actually… and it all turned out all right. A miracle. Or maybe Mother or Daddy intervened. But whatever happened, the service was delightful. Even though they flatly refused to do what I asked and play, “I could have danced all night” as people filed out of the church after the service. They would not budge on this point. It made me upset, and it made me angry. Of course, I had just lost my Mother, so I was a little on edge. As normal as I tried to be, the fact that I was forced by circumstances to use that church bothered me. The church which would not do what Mother would have liked best, and play secular music at the end. Other Episcopal churches will do this. But Christ Church in Georgetown refused. UTTERLY REFUSED. I am still mad about that. I begged, pleaded, and I tried to get others to help me, but I was up against fundamentalist Episcopalians. NO MERCY. It worried me because my Mother was just about the least religious person I have ever known. But in the end, she would have enjoyed it!
The service was impressive. Considering how much of a hissy fit I had had, I am glad they listened to my concerns. I knew almost immediately that it was going to be all right. The organist was playing the music at a faster pace than normal Episcopal dirges. It was upbeat, and the hymns were lovely ones. Most of them were unfamiliar to me, but the fabulous choir sang powerfully and brought the congregation singing along on the backs of their strong voices.
I never cried much during the service, because I have been grieving for so many years. But when I greeted the minister who was a kind man and clearly listened to my wishes and my distress, I said, “Thank you SO MUCH!” and burst into tears of gratitude.
After the service, everyone came to a reception at Underoak. We used Susan Gage Caterers, and it was perfect. They staged the food in a garage, and everything was piping hot and fresh. In the end, they took everything away and left us some food. No problems at all and that is the best type of caterer. The house was full of floral arrangements, and all the lights were on. The dogs were put up, and the doors were open. The guests who were almost all in brightly colored clothes seemed to be having a great time celebrating the life of a woman who loved a party!