It is strange to go back to the old hometown. People who grew up on my street with me showed up to Mom's funeral. These are folks I have not seen in decades. It is a tribute to the respect many held my for my mother.
It demonstrates yet one more time my lack of empathy. Had I heard of the passing of some of their parents I would have thought "That's too bad" and went on with whatever I was doing. It is certainly a character defect on my part.
I rationalize things by imagining that had I stayed in the small town where I grew up I might keep in better touch or be more aware of the community in general. In my shrunken heart I know better. There are many reasons I have never attended a class reunion. It is further evidence that while I am trying to be better, I remain an asshole in a world of good people. I clearly have a lot of work to do. Many commenters over the years have tried to tell me so.
Yeah, I'm probably not going to change. And no, I don't want to be hugged by old ladies, or people I don't know, or by people I haven't seen or spoken to in forty years. In fact, outside of my wife and family, I don't really want to be hugged (or touched) by anyone. I told you I am an asshole. But I was a very good boy yesterday. Mom would have been proud. Oh, and I got that "don't touch me" thing from her, so...
Lots of people showed up for Mom's memorial. A score of old ladies said "You must be one of the sons, you look just like your Mom". No, I'm standing up front in a suit and I'm the right age. Good guess. Besides I look nothing like my mother. I am the spitting image of the milkman though. Honestly. My dad was a milkman when I was born. I know, no one knows what to say, so that " you look like your mom" is a good opening.
Upon re-reading I can say the whole preceding paragraph is even more evidence I need to change.
The minister clearly knew my Mom. His eulogy was spot on. No canned "funeral sermon" from him. My mom was hard, exacting, unbelievably kind and loving. There was but one way to do stuff and she had no problem telling anyone, and I mean anyone, they were doing it wrong. Her standards were high, and she helped anyone she could to meet those standards. She helped charities and people in the small ways she could. Her organization skills were enormous and she could bring order from chaos wherever it was needed. I'm am certain co-workers, friends, and people she knew called her a bitch and the most wonderful person they had ever met all in the same breath. Sometimes I did too.
I'm gonna miss you mom.
*you are going to read that part at the end and think I am unbelievably mean and cold. I typed it with an enormous amount of love and respect. And I wager that anyone who knew my mom would agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly.