What a day. Frank and Katie had coffee ready for me when I got up. Hugged them good-bye and headed to Naperville. I arrived in time to have some great conversations with Barb's brothers and sisters and their families. I love that we grew up together in Quincy and are closer than some siblings. We are really blessed.
Someone told me there were between one and two thousand people yesterday at the visitation. I don't doubt it. And there was more than 500 at the church today for the Mass.
Jacob, a cousin's son, is a very young kid who was being bribed to behave (hey, if it works, don't knock it). If he could keep quiet during the service, Mass and at the cemetary, the family would stop at a toy store on the way home. He was really trying, but was starting to get antsy. I told him I could help. I put my finger on the side of my nose and said, "Every time I do this it means 'be good.' And that will help remind you." Oh, he loved that. I told him this was his special sign. When another cousin tried it later, Jacob remarked, "You can't do that. It's mine. She said." Made me laugh.
My cousin Ann from near Boston and her brother Tim from South Bend arrived in time for the Mass. How wonderful to see both of them. Delightful people. And at the luncheon afterward all the cousins sat at a table and reminisced. And laughed. I was the only one from my family who was able to make it, and I missed my sibs. But it was a long trip for them, and some had just gotten home from Colorado.
Normally, luncheon is served by church volunteers and many many people bring in covered dishes. Because Barb knew that several hundred people would attend, they ended up having a catered meal and it was delicious.
Barb was a rock. She said she was at peace and I believe her. Her sister Susie will stay a few extra days. All her sibs have been so gracious and loving and very supportive of her. Bob (the oldest) and I compared notes on being the oldest in a large family, and a social worker to boot. We have that in common.
I hated to leave, but had CSz practice tonight with my group. The normally 2 hour trip took over 3 1/2 hours because of a bad accident. Thankfully it didn't look like anyone was hurt, but it sure messed up the highway for a long time.
I'm SO LUCKY to be a member of the family I'm in.