If you are a regular follower of this blog, then you know that I have lost my lost my mother in 2010, my father in law in 2014, and my mother in law in 2016.
Last week, it was my brother.
Then, four days later, our sister in law (widow of the Husband's late brother) lost her brother to cancer.
Yesterday, my mother in law's beloved dog Chloe died. Chloe had been living with my sister in law. She was a lovely dog, loveable on so many levels.
Today, Cookie is sitting in the Delta Sky Club in an airport waiting out a three hour layover to get home. I am recovering from yesterday's funeral for brother, and I am drinking like a fish. What do I care, it's free.
Yesterday started out as it should. People dressed for the funeral, my sister in law's family members were there - they are from the west coast. Cookie's family was represented myself and Older Brother.
Because we were raised Jewish, Sister in Law arranged for a "Rabbi" to do the funeral in conjunction with her church's minister.
Before said funeral, we met the minister and the rabbi who was wearing a cowboy hat, who seemed nice enough. But the Rabbi was wearing a cowboy hat. Both Cookie and older brother wanted to speak, so we introduced ourselves.
Right after introducing himself by name, said Cowboy Rabbi identified himself as a Messianic Rabbi.
Now for those of you who don't get the American Jewish "thing", in a nutshell, we work out of the old testament, with three main schisms (in order of adherence to the Torah, which is Orthodox (the most), Conservative (the middle ground) and Reform (the most liberal). Notice I didn't say Messianic. That's because to a Jew, the Messiah hasn't come. To Messianic Jews, Jesus is the Messiah. Think Jews for Jesus.
And do you think that Cookie grew up in a Jews for Jesus household?
Oh, Hell no.
So the minute after he said that he was Messianic Rabbi, the trolley into the unknown started down the tracks. And where it stopped, not I, my older brother or our East Coast Niece (ECN) knew for sure.
Jewish funerals are simple and short. A prayer, the life eulogy, eulogies from those who knew the deceased, a closing prayer followed by seven days of being told to eat.
We made it through the eulogies - Cookie managed to "keep it together" until the end of the eulogy when I wept, and hard.
That was when Messianic Cowboy Rabbi took Cookie into a bear hug and announced that the eulogy I gave was the most loving that he had ever heard.
At that moment, Cookie, Older Brother, ECN and her husband knew that the funeral train was about to go off the tracks in spectacular fashion.
What followed was twenty minutes of ranting and preaching and personal testimony from Cowboy Rabbi about how he and father and mother came to know "Jesus."
We were forced to listen about his father's death, his mother's death, his underground belief in the Messiah, "Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." He shrieked into the microphones, stomped his cowboy boot, slapped his thigh. He was so consumed with the spirit that I could have sworn Billy Sunday was back from the dead.
Between his yelling and weeping, we all became very uncomfortable. It was so personal that it caused Older Brother to turn around and say "I wasn't aware that this service was about Cowboy Rabbi
Finally, ECN got up, went to the pastor at her mother's church, who reeled in Cowboy Rabbi, who apologized for being moved by the Holy Spirit.
Cookie is convinced that had he been left to his devices, snakes would have been brought out for us to handle.
Finally, when it was over. I went outside and had a good scream.
I wish I would have had the presence of mind to get my iPhone out and tape his ramblings, but I was so shocked by his denouncement of LGBT rights that I just sat there controlling my rage.
When West Coast Niece, WCN, came out she looked visibly shaken.
"Now I know why Dad didn't want a memorial service."
I had to get out of there and left to go back to my hotel and a shower.
So now I sit in an airport lounge, in Salt Lake City, wondering if any of these people would have felt different. Or if they would have sat enthralled while Cowboy Rabbi gave his testimony. Or would they have been as appalled as I was.
Right before I left the funeral home, Cowboy Rabbi came up for another cringe worth hug.
Where are you from, he asked.
I told him and he said "Really, I am headed that way. Maybe I will look you up."
"You do that, partner," I said.
Yes, you just try it.