I have been thinking a lot about life, family and the importance of pre-planning. My uncle was laid to rest yesterday after a long struggle with Alzheimer's and a short battle with pancreatic cancer. My uncle never married and never had children and ever since the death of my grandmother in 1990, my mother has been his backbone and caretaker. On May 15th, my uncle died with my parents at his side. I was told my parents sobbed and laid across his body in grief. That the hospice nurses sobbed along with them. A year prior to my uncle's death my mother pre-planned his funeral because she feared she would die before him and she wanted his funeral arranged. By pre-planning his funeral she was able to mourn his death with family as oppose to worrying about all the details while in a grieving emotional state and as a result the service was beautiful. Honestly, anything my mother arranges results in beauty.
Uncle Gene's viewing was at the church of St Andrews in Newtown followed by a mass in which all the nieces and nephews participated. My sister Marianne, cousin Angelina and I did readings. My nieces Chrissy, Nicole, Grace and my cousin Mary Kate brought up the gifts. My sons Shaun and Josh, brothers Michael and Frankie, cousin Frank, nephews James, Artie, Justin and Gregory were pallbearers or walked behind the casket. Uncle Gene was buried with a pair of rosary beads I got from Ireland and interred at Our Lady of Grace Cemetery in Langhorne in the family plot. He joined my brother Artie and my grandparents William and Anna McCaffrey Gallagher. Before Uncle Gene was taken to his burial grave, we stopped to pay our respects to my grandparents. After Uncle Gene was interred we placed flowers at my brother's grave in which his son, my nephew Artie cried. We returned to our cars to allow Artie a moment at his father's grave then we went to La Stalla's in Newtown for the luncheon where we dined family style on mozzarella and tomatoes, followed by antipasto and warm bread with olive oil, muscles in tomato sauce, pasta with both red sauce and white sauce with broccoli and chicken parmesan. After lunch my sister and I returned to my parents' home in Washington Crossing for a few hours before returning to our own homes.
To say the service was beautiful would be an understatement. Being with our very large family was priceless.