“Do you want to come to the funeral?” Dia asked quietly. Will bit the inside of his lip. He and Dia had only been dating a few weeks now, but he could see her silently begging behind her brown eyes. He hadn’t even met her grandma, but he’d be a monster to say no to her pain.
“Of course I’ll come.” He responded quickly.
The next day, he waited outside her house beside his car as Dia came out in a black dress covered in red roses. She was still putting in a teardrop shaped earring as she got in beside him.
“Thanks for coming, I just hate going to family gatherings alone. And funerals give me the heebies.”
“I think funerals give everyone the heebies.” He said reassuringly, rubbing her knee through her nylons. “Where are we headed?”
The car ride passed quickly as Dia told him stories about her grandma. About the cookies they’d baked when she was supposed to be too sick to go to school, and playing dress-up in her closet with floppy hats and lipstick. As they pulled into the parking lot of the funeral home, Will saw an older woman come quickly walking up. The woman shared Dia’s curly hair and brown eyes, and as Dia rushed up to sweep her into a hug, he could see the resemblance in their round cheek bones.
“Mom, this is Will.” Dia introduced as he came out of the car. “He’s the one I’ve been telling you about.” The woman looked him up briefly before sweeping him up into an equally big hug.
“It’s good to finally meet you, Will. Come on Dianna, let’s go introduce him to everyone.”
After shaking what felt like an endless number of hands, Will collapsed onto a small bench in the hallway. He heaved a sigh of relief as he looked up at the ceiling.
“I don’t believe we’ve been properly introduced, young man.” Said a voice beside him. Will looked over to see an elderly woman sitting beside him. She smiled at him warmly, her pure white hair curling gently about her ears. He was struck by the smile that it seemed Dia’s whole family shared, a genuinely happy one to see. He quickly straightened himself out, holding out his hand to shake.
“I’m Will, Dianna’s new boyfriend.” He said, giving a gentle shake to the delicate hand beneath his. The woman’s brown eyes twinkled back at him.
“So Dia has herself a new lover. How lovely for her!” She leaned over and whispered in a conspiratal tone, “We were worried she might never find herself a nice man. But you seem positively charming!” Will blushed slightly.
“Well, I try to be. I never realized her family was so… big.” The woman laughed, leaning over to peek through the open door where the family had gathered.
“Yes, who would imagine so many people turning out for one crazy, old lady.”
“She must have done something right, at least, to have such a welcoming family.” Will retorted, defensive of the woman he’d never met.
“And yet you’re sitting out here! What, did they scare you off?” She said with a playful hint.
Will ran a hand through his hair, “No, it’s just very intense. My family’s funerals have never been quite as boisterous as this one, Mrs…” He trailed off hesitantly.
“Call me Primrose, please. I think that she would have liked this funeral. It’s loud, and full of life. Better to celebrate what she did than mourn that she’s gone, right?”
Will nodded thoughtfully, “A celebration of life then…”
“…And maybe some new beginnings. You treat Dia well, okay? She deserves the best.”
Will smiled back at the woman, “I think I can do that.”
Just then Dia and her mother came into the hallway. “There you are, Will!” Dia said, “Come in, they’re about to do the eulogy.”
“Oh, sorry.” Will said, getting up, “I was just talking to Primrose here.” He gestured to the seat beside him as he noticed Dia’s mother’s eyes begin to fill with tears.
“You’re such a sweet boy.” She choked out before heading back into the room. Dia smiled.
“I didn’t know you were religious.” She said quietly, pulling him towards the gathering room. Will glanced back in confusion, to see nothing but an empty bench in the hallway. As he was pulled into the room, he heard Dia’s uncle from the front of the room begin to talk.
“We’re gathered here today to celebrate the passing of a great woman, Primrose Barriet…”