The First Time I Experienced Death and a Funeral

Great Grandpa Blaine and Great Grandma Rosa Huckeby I’m not sure how many people remember their great grandparents, but assume the numbers are quite small, especially for my generation and those before, when teen pregnancy was far more rare than it is today.

The last of my great grandparents, passed away when I was of pre-school age. I have a few vivid memories of visiting my great-grandmother, Rosa Huckeby’s house (that’s grandma and my great-grandpa Blaine in the photo). I remember her being so sweet, but do remember her looking very old. She had dark age spots that I thought were bruises and remember her house had a certain smell. Once in a while, I will come across the same smell and it takes me back to Grandma Rosa’s house.

I remember her bedroom, the bedspread she had and the old photos she displayed on her wall and tables. I also remember her always talking about her Bible and what she had read recently.

When grandma Rosa passed away, it was the first time I experienced death of any kind. I remember going to the funeral home with my parents and seeing my grandpa Jarvis in a suit. I thought that was strange, because he always wore overalls with his pocket watch chain dangling out the front pocket.

At one point, near the casket, my dad was holding me and talking small-talk with grandpa. I looked to the casket, and whether my memory is accurate or not, I’m not certain – but I remember her looking as though she were dressed in a beautiful, white nightgown.

I asked my dad what was wrong with grandma – he told me she just went to sleep and never woke up.


After the funeral and for months on end, I was terrified to go to sleep. I was so afraid of never waking up and ending up in a box just like grandma. There was NO WAY my parents were going to get me to go to bed. Not with stories, bribery, threats of punishment – Come hell or high water, I was not going to sleep – until, well, I did.

Of course that was the first of a series of events that would take place over the next five or so years that would cause me tremendous anxiety where sleep was concerned.

Do you remember your first time attending a funeral? What age were you?

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NaNonFiWriMo – The Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge, also known as National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), where I have accepted the challenge to start and complete a work of nonfiction in 30 days. Read my other NaNonFiWriMo posts here


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