Friday, July 24, 2009

A Friday Funeral

We had a funeral service for my great aunt Beryl today. Just shy of 95, she was a remarkable lady. She taught for 38 years and spent much of her life living in New York and Washington, D.C. However, by the time I was growing up, she was living back in Shreveport and working with her brothers at Netherton Construction.

I loved Beryl. I loved that she spent holidays with us. I loved her elegance and gentle tone. She had such a sweet spirit. Each year for Christmas, she gave my brother, cousins and I subscriptions to Highlights Magazine. I was still getting a subscription to Highlights well into my teenage years.

In the later years of her life, Beryl suffered from Alzheimer's, which is a terrible disease to watch someone endure. Each day my grandfather would go visit her. He would take her to get her hair done or to the store. They did whatever Beryl wanted or needed to do. My grandfather and his brothers had a special relationship. They were always a tight knit group. They worked together, lived on the same street, even honeymooned together. But Beryl was the heart of the family.

My grandfather loved his sister deeply. It was evident by his tears today. It broke my heart to see him so sad, to see him mourn the loss of his only sister. I can't imagine life without my brothers. I don't know what it feels like to be the last of your siblings, but I know my grandfather's heart hurts.

There were quirky moments to today's funeral. I think my grandfather was wearing some of my grandmother's sunglasses (the big Jackie O kind). My dad's cousin Buster looked as if he were going to take over the podium. And my cousin Bryan Grisham talked until someone in the audience passed out from the heat. It was an abrupt end. We didn't get around to "Amazing Grace." But it was a great way to remember Beryl. After all, it wouldn't be a true Netherton function without a few bumps in the road.

4 comments:

Ashley Netherton said...

Steph, what a touching story!! Poor Mick.. I know it broke y'alls hearts to see him so sad.. Maybe sunglasses is what we can get him for Christmas this year... he's good on socks for a while, huh ?

Stephanie Netherton said...

I believe I saw Chris' lip quiver. We missed you.

We should consider getting him some shades for Christmas. Yes, I think he's set on cashmere socks for a while. Especially since Nana keeps re-wrapping the ones she's already given him!

Kate said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this Steph. Praying for you and the fam!!

Patrick said...

Yeah, Mick's glasses were quite amusing. I couldn't believe how emotional Don was about the whole thing. And you are right Stephanie, it wouldn't be a Netherton function without something crazy happening. And I do wish Buster would have taken over and gotten us out of there before someone had to pass out.