Mama's church does things a little differently now than when I grew up in it. But seeings how I fall into the heathen category and claim my membership (on the roll at least) at the Episcopal Church, I realize I don't have the right to make a comment. But I digress.
Instead of the the family coming down the aisle and sitting in the front pews, the minister leads the family in from the front of the church and sits them on the front pews. When in Rome! So for Mama's funeral when the family arrived at the church, we were brought into a parlor, which I assume they use for such occasions among others. We did not have all the "cousins" with us, just the immediate family. We feared, if we started asking, we may omit someone and God forbid be talked about for years.
So we are standing around chatting. By this time, we have had more "family time" than we have had in years. Conversation was down to gossip and chit chat. The door opens and instead of the minister, as we all expected, in walks one of Mama's first cousins. She immediately comes over to me, hugs me, and pours out words of grief. Now this is the cousin who drove Mama absolutely nuts. If the family had a drama queen, she wore the crown and the sash.
This is also the cousin who several years ago, accused me of losing my mother, something my mother and the other cousins found humorous and actually laughed about.
As soon as I could, I moved her along to my brother, so she could share her grief with him. He looked over her shoulder with a smile of "Gee thanks." My smirk in reply was, "What are sisters for?" She made her way around the room and then came back to me. I expected her to excuse herself, seeing that there were no other cousins in the room. But in typical style she was either oblivious, or felt she was special. She held her handkerchief blotting her eyes, as she spoke words like "Your mama was so special to all of us." and "I just cannot believe this has happened."
The minister walked in. Surely she would take the hint and excuse herself now. He walked around and spoke to each of us. I introduced her, as one of Mama's cousins who had come in to pay her respects. (Mama would have been proud of me.) One more hint, but, no she just stood. The minister said a prayer and instructed us as to the order we would proceed into the sanctuary, pausing to add "and the cousin will follow."
After the funeral, at the reception, I dreaded having to deal with the other cousins, who I feared had their feelings hurt when they saw her sit with the family. However, one commented, "I was not surprised when we saw her up there. She is impossible." Another said, (sarcastically), "I am sure that is just what your Mama would have wanted." I just added, "No, but she would have expected no less."