Karl and Nate (driving after work that day) met me in St. Louis and we stayed through Sunday. The trip was both happy and sad and quiet and noisy and strange and I can't seem to stop doing odd things like refusing to throw away the (used) tissues that are still in my coat pocket from the funeral mass and tacking my bright orange funeral sticker from the procession of cars on to my refrigerator.
I don't really know what to say about the whole thing; I am thankful to so many of you for your kind words and thoughts.
Maybe I'll blog about how absolutely PACKED the wake (visitation) was from start to finish and how there was almost a joyful atmosphere (which is most assuredly how my grandfather would have wanted it) as people talked and we played our "family video" (Cue embarrassing photos of my cousins and I in NKOTB gear and with bowl cuts and super bushy eyebrows! Cue adorable pictures of my grandparents at their wedding SIXTY years ago!).
Or I could tell you how it rained from the moment we woke up to the moment we went to sleep (and NEVER let up and was FREEZING and TORRENTIAL) on the day of the funeral and how my uncle had to leave directly after to go take care of his child (emergency situation), missing the burial of his father.
Or I could mention the *seriously* 100 people at the funeral mass that showed up despite the horrid, horrid weather. (And I might tell you that the priest mentioned that "Drunken sailors were jealous of Jerry's adjectives" during his homily. Oh I liked that part.)
Or how it felt movie-like at the cemetery with everyone's breath pouring out in the cold air and the rain pounding on the roof of the enclosure. Or how they warned us the guns were going to go off (military salute) and how we all jumped about a mile anyway (we LOVE guns in my family). Or how I couldn't stop thinking silly things like "how in the HELL do they fold that flag JUST SO" when they presented the tiny, tight triangle with perfect corners to my grandmother.
I know this post isn't really about THE PERSON my grandfather was but I don't know how to write about that. There is too much there. I think the sheer amount of friends and family attending the various services and thinking about my family speaks volumes about him and the lives that he touched. His grave (did I just type that word?) marker will say: Gerald Cronin, One of the Good Ones. And he was.