Our trip to California became our trip to California and Utah about halfway through the trip. My wife's niece, who had suffered severe brain damage at birth and spent over thirteen years as an invalid, passed away while we were there, so we diverted our trip to be with the family. It was a wonderful opportunity to see family and friends in the Salt Lake area (all of my wife's siblings but one made it, and he sent his wife and son).
Most people, in my experience, are pretty depressing to be around at funerals. I am generally not the sort of person who attends to darken the mood. I don't like to remind those closest to the deceased of how sad they ought to be. I point that out because those are the people who have most annoyed me when I was among those receiving condolences at funerals. No, I am the sort of person who would rather celebrate the life of the person who has passed, and enjoy the time with those left behind. I joke and laugh. I tell stories - sometimes about the deceased, sometimes about other people - that bring to mind good times. I do my best to put the fun in funeral. I realize that aspect of my personality sounds weird to a lot of people. It is also one reason I rarely attend funerals unless I know the deceased (or at least the survivors) very well.
I have to say this funeral was among the sweetest I have ever attended. My wife intends to write what one of her brothers said in the funeral, which really struck me. All of those who shared their thoughts at the funeral had beautiful things to say, of course, but his probably made me think the most about what it means to be considered "lucky" and "unlucky". When she's had time to write his comments, I'll probably write a piece here that explains what I mean more clearly. Until then, we were glad we got to see those we did while we were out west, and I will endeavor to return to regular blogging in the next several days.