A Very Wisconsin Funeral

I went to my sister-in-law’s funeral on Thursday in the southeastern part of Missouri. My sister-in-law came from a large family–she was one of nine–and a number of them made the trip down from Wisconsin and various parts of Missouri to attend.

Apparently, the family agreed beforehand to wear Packers apparel to honor my sister-in-law’s love of the team. I kid you not. We had jerseys at the service representing:

  • 12 Aaron Rodgers (2).
  • 80 Donald Driver.
  • 52 Clay Matthews.
  • 87 Jordy Nelson.

Along with assorted other Packers apparel amongst the children and whatnot.

I was the only one in a suit, which prompted one of her sisters to ask “Where’s Jake?” when I arrived in my fedora and sunglasses. I’ll be honest, I’m almost fifty, and I’m still a bit gobsmacked when a stranger makes a joke about how I’m dressed. Don’t get me wrong; I will make jokes about how I am dressed–I told someone that I sat down during the viewing period before the service because I didn’t want to be mistaken for a funeral home employee, especially as I would ask for tips, and that would be gauche at a time like this (and I was actually mistaken for an employee by a member of my sister-in-law’s family). Eesh, I got a bunch of jokes to put me down in my school years decades ago, and they still put me in a bit of a mental defensive crouch when I get them now.

My brother is doing all right; he’s talking about the future and has gotten another dog, which his wife opposed, so he’s looking past his grief. My nephew has been hit a little harder; this was his mother and quite possibly the first death of someone close to him, so he didn’t have any warm-ups.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for all of us, them more than me, of course. I would say I’m looking forward to getting back to normal, but deaths close to home have a way of making one look at normal and wondering if it’s really the normal one wants.

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