A Tale of Two Funerals

 Grandma Happel

 My beloved Grandma Happel died in the spring of 1986.  I was thousands of miles away in San Franciso finishing up my first year of law school. It was finals week. My grandparents and parents lived in Iowa. I couldn’t go to her funeral. Right after the funeral, my brother came out to visit me. We cried together as he tried to convey the experience of attending the funeral. Just writing this tears me up. 

About twice a month I dream that Grandma Happel is still alive. I dream that we’ve all forgotten about her but she’s still alive struggling on her own. Do I dream this because my subconscious doesn’t understand that she’s gone? If I had been able to attend the funeral, would I still have these dreams?

Grandma copley 

Seventeen years later, my Grandma Copley died. She moved out to Seattle and lived with my parents before needing to move to an assisted living care facility. I visited her frequently. During her final days, I got to say goodbye.  I attended her funeral.

I don’t have strange dreams about Grandma Copley. I am at peace with how we got to say goodbye.

I’m sure there are a number of reasons why I react so differently to the loss of each of these extraordinary women.  I believe that one of the differences was their funerals. Funerals are important for us, the survivors. I really miss my Grandma Happel.  Maybe I wouldn’t miss her quite so much if I had attended her funeral.  



  1. Patchen Noelke said

    Great story Anna, really hits home and makes the point of how a website like TheFuneralSite can help you find good, local funeral resources when you need them…..at the last minute, in a hurry, when you’re grieving.

  2. thefuneralsite said

    Thanks Patchen! – anna

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