My mother was a short woman, getting shorter every year due to osteoporosis. She was only 4 foot 8 or 9 when she died, but she packed a powerful punch when she left us. On Tuesday night, August 6, there was a powerful storm that passed through Appleton, Wisconsin, unleashing 7 recorded minor tornadoes and lots of straight-line winds. The power went out around 1 AM Wed morning, the day of the funeral, causing a scramble for generators all over town, including my Mom's house where my 3 sisters were staying and my brother's house where I was staying.
I figured Mom had met up with Dad in Heaven and was reading him the riot act for leaving her 16 years earlier. They always did have a "stormy" relationship. Or perhaps my Dad was responsible for the storm as a result of my brother, Dale, visiting the cemetery and warning my Dad that Mom was coming to join him - and, "this may sound bad to you" (my Dad's favorite way of starting a conversation), "but she's going to be on top."
Whatever the cause, we determined that the funeral could go on as planned. Caterers had prepared the food the day ahead and enough roads were open that people could still drive (albeit somewhat circuitously) to the church. The service would use candle light (and luckily many of us knew the hymns by heart anyway) and we'd have to sing a capella since the organ and piano both are electronic.
The funeral was what I think my Mom would have wanted. Skylights provided plenty of light in the narthex for the visitation and viewing before the service. The singing was strong, led by the Daybreak Singers, the senior citizen choir that my Mom belonged to for the past 6 years. The message by Pastor Kurt reminded us of how my mother was devoted to serving wherever she was needed. The meal afterwards allowed us to catch up with family and friends and share stories and hugs.
It took 2 days to get the electricity back and it will take longer to clean up the debris from the hundreds of trees that were downed in the storm. And even longer until roofs and windows are repaired in several parts of town. Luckily there were no deaths or injuries reported.
Take note siblings, grandchildren and great grandchildren: Don't cross Grandma! Be good, be kind, be helpful, just as she taught you through her example. When she speaks, she means it!