Before Jenna turned five she was introduced to Isaac – a cousin to Paula – who, at the time, was Biff’s platonic girlfriend.
Roland asked Isaac how old he would be (or what age he’d just turned – I forget what time of the year it was) We both figured at least nine. Both of us were quite floored when he answered seven.. He was too tall to be only seven. He was actually quite tall for nine. Surely Jenna and Isaac were more than just two years apart.
Isaac’s mom was involved with an Easter tradition. Every year right after Church, the children would look for the plastic eggs that the adults had hid around the yard – her father’s yard to be exact. Paula had outgrown the tradition and had asked Biff to bring Jenna so that Isaac and Paula’s brother weren’t hunting for eggs by themselves. So from 2009 to 2012 Jenna has always done Easter with Isaac and his family.
Each year the hunt happened at Grandpa’s house – until last year. Ruth and Nim had moved into a new house – she felt that her yard was ready. Biff and Paula hadn’t spent much time together, but he was still friends with Isaac’s mom, Ruth. She had asked him if he would assist with Easter set up. He took Jenna with him and they spent the night.
Paula had told me that she came from a dysfunctional family. I didn’t realize how dysfunctional until earlier this year. It’s true that Ruth had been excited to have Easter at her house – but it was not the same as it had been at grandpas. I think Grandpa himself had been invited, but nobody else in the family had. There had been a falling out, continuous squabbles – quite strained relationships among Ruth and her siblings. It sounded horrible. I feel quite grateful that I couldn’t (nor can) relate.
When Jenna was in first grade, Grandpa’s home was a sanctuary – I told her that if I was ever late picking her up, she was to wait for me at Paula and Isaac’s grandpa’s house. That was before the adult brother moved in and basically pushed his parents into the back room – taking away almost every inch of space from the house to store his worthless belongings and himself. This year I told her NOT to go to Grandpas. Even Ruth and Isaac would rather not be there. I now understand why it takes him so long to cross the field.
Ruth, from what I understand, has always been insecure about her looks. She has always felt overweight and unhealthy. Others had made fun of her size and said unkind things that did hurt her emotionally. But she was very strong willed and never unkind to anyone. She was a friend to everyone – including those that had put her down. I thought she was beautiful both inside and out.
She did not have the Easter hunt this year. Her health has been poor. She was scheduled to have her hernia removed back in May. But there was the issue with her weight. She needed to lose several pounds and reschedule. I don’t know how many times the surgery was postponed. I had talked with her over the phone only a few times during the summer. I had been to her house only one time.
Ruth’s home was always in chaos. She just didn’t seem to have the strength to pick up after her two boys. She considered them more than a blessing. She said that Nim and the boys completed her life. But somehow the boys didn’t appear to give her any help. I don’t know why. Isaac is such a sweet and thoughtful boy. He has been a tremendous friend to Jenna.
His little brother has a crush on Jenna. He also looks older than he is – a little replica (well, smaller version – both boys are huge) of Isaac. He just started kindergarten this year and Isaac will be starting junior high (or middle school) next year.
Ruth’s last surgery was scheduled for Friday, October 11. She so wanted to lose the weight and get healthy not just for herself but for her boys. She died on the operating table. I seem to be shedding more tears than with my own mom’s death. I just feel so bad for Isaac and Marvin. Marvin was so attached to his mother. I don’t know if he will fully understand that mommy isn’t coming back or why. He cannot depend on her anymore the way he used to.
Biff and I attended her funeral this afternoon. We had gone early to attend the viewing. I saw Ruth’s brother in the hall. Her mom was near the casket – but that was all the family I saw. No grandpa (her father) no Isaac, no Marvin, no Nim. Ruth was in her casket smiling. It was small, but still, it appeared as a smile. I don't think I've ever seen a smiling corpse before.
I visited with the principal of the school that both Isaac and Jenna attend. She was the only person (besides Ruth) that I recognized. (How convenient it was for both of us that the funeral was just next door to the school.) School let out before the funeral was over.
You would think a family like that would have seen death before – but the funeral itself seemed to be a very unfamiliar situation for most of the family – at least from my point of view. I would imagine both Ruth and her dad have attended funerals before.
Somebody escorted the two boys into the chapel. I went to where they were seated and gave Isaac a hug and asked if he was okay. He was holding a stack of homemade cards that I'm guessing had been created by his classmates. I started crying before I returned to my seat. I just couldn’t seem to pull myself together.
Nim joined his boys shortly after I sat down. I’d never met him before and so introduced myself. He looked broken. They sat in the chapel with some other of his family members. I don’t know if they were ever in the same room with the casket
Nim and the boys missed out on the family prayer as it was in the RS room and they were in the chapel. Perhaps it was easier for them. I don’t know. When the congregation was told to stand while the family filed in, Nim and his family stood along with the congregation and thus most all of the family members who filed in remained standing also.
I think it is the first LDS funeral I’ve been to where I have seen the family stand and not take their seats once they had filed in. I know I've taken my seat as a family member while the congregation stood for us.
The services were nice. Ruth is very well loved. I enjoyed learning more about the great woman that she was. I hope Isaac will remember the love and that he will take the advice of the speakers. She will definitely be missed.