One year ago today, we said our final farewell to Bryon.
I wore a black dress and my daughter wore a white dress with black polka dots.
I remember meeting at the funeral home with immediate family and the pallbearers. A few friends drove up from New York City and came by since they were not able to make it to the calling hours. I remember that I forgot to put on my pearls that Bryon had bought me in St. Thomas on our honeymoon cruise. Several friends offered me their pairs of pearls, but I declined. I figured I wasn’t meant to wear them.
I remember everyone saying their final good-byes at the funeral home before heading to the church. Top Gun had been paused during the reading of the Prayer of St. Francis but the promo music magically came on as everyone went up to the coffin for the last time.
I remember the funeral. The music. The five priests that were there. The eulogy given by his best friend. It was funny and mildly inappropriate which is what Bryon would have wanted. The only thing I don’t remember was seeing who was there. I just remember that the church was full.
I remember the wristbands that were given out. Bryon said (hypothetically) that if he died that he wanted an open bar and he wanted wristbands given out at church because he didn’t want freeloaders showing up to his reception. He only wanted true mourners there.
I remember that I didn’t cry. It’s the only funeral I have never cried at. I could go to a funeral of a complete stranger and cry. I remember feeling guilty. I remember mentioning this to my daughter’s godmother. I asked her if I was a horrible person but she said that I had been crying for five months.
I remember thinking about how odd it was to be the widow. I remember watching my grandmother’s as widows. To be getting in and out of the limo with their children. I was getting in and out of the limo with my daughter. But my grandmother’s children were all grown. My daughter was not yet two. I remember changing her diaper in the limo after Mass while waiting for the procession to move to the cemetery. I remember that my daughter fell asleep on the way to the cemetery and my father stayed in the limo with her during the time at the cemetery.
I remember that we had our reception at one of our favorite bars, McGeary’s. I remember seeing my friends and family there, all dressed up. Lunch was served and I remember my daughter trying to eat the butter by itself. I remember talking to my cousins and aunts and uncles who came in from Maine, Massachusetts and Florida. I drank Bailey’s on ice. I remember Bryon was toasted and we sang along to his favorite songs. I remember people coming up to me saying that even though it sounds weird, it was the best funeral that they have ever been to.
And now it has been one year since that day. Feels like a lifetime ago and like it was yesterday.