I went to a funeral today. My grandmother's funeral. I met my mom at my grandmother's home and of course had to ask her for an iron so that my best shirt would look decent. Mass was performed by the diaken of Olen, a man who'd served my grandmother communion for the past two months, who was there for her in her sickness and who had gotten to know her quite well.
He said something really interesting during mass.
Once or twice while he was with my grandmother she told him: "Ze praten erover in't dorp."
"They're talking about it in the town."
What they were talking about, for once, was something positive, about how my mom, her two sisters and her brothers worked together to take care of my grandmother in her last few months. Making sure that she was able to stay at home, instead of having to die in a hospital. They didn't just visit every day, or fluff her pillows, no... they stayed with her, one day each, switching for the weekends. They helped her go to the toilet, took care of it that she drank, helped bathe her, keep her clean, they listened to her ranting, held her hand even in her hallucinations, stayed strong when she got delusions... They were there for her day and night. All five of them and their spouses. During her last months on earth, there wasn't a single time that my grandmother was left alone in the house.
By the end, all she had left was her pain, and the love of her children, it probably kept her fighting for her life longer than her body would have let her otherwise.
The diaken talked about how he admired all five of the children, and how he regretted that positive things like these didn't end up in the papers, in comparison to all the negative stuff.
It made me hope, that if there ever is a day, when it's my mother's time to go (hopefully a very very very long time from now) that my brothers and sister and I will have the same strenght to do that for my mother. I like to think that Bommeke knew she was loved, I like to think that she saw the statue of the Madonna with child that the diaken placed next to her coffin and that it brought a smile to her face. Because as he said, it was one of her favorite possessions and held a special place in her home.
I didn't know what to say when I went to give my last greetings yesterday, I do now.
Vaarwel Bommeke, ik hou van jouw.