First, I'd like to thank everyone individually for their help through this time. Everyone in my great-uncle's immediate family was able to be strong during their time of mourning, especially my own Dad who was very close to his uncle, especially after his own father passed away. I did not expect such an outpour of comfort and wisdom. Since I'm so new here, I didn't expect much, so what I've received from you all is such a pleasant surprise that during our drive time between locations today, I couldn't stop reading this thread. You are all extremely kind and remind me why in so many of our prayers, we say "we", because we are one community in Christ.
Truth be told, I had some major oversight. I was too busy worrying about what might have happened, what I would have said, how I would've walked out in a fury if confrontation had started and all these horrible oversights, that I didn't think to do any serious praying. Sure I remembered some Biblical quotes, but I wasn't feeling them or living them. Pretty silly, I know.
A few of you might be wondering how the actual events of the funeral transpired. It started off pretty awkwardly. In the morning as we were getting out of the car, my Mom called me "Kosta." I should explain. I have two names, "Brian" which I was baptised as and which the American State recognises me as, and "Konstantinos"/"Constantine" that I was chrismated as and which incidentally the Greek State recognises me as. They don't know that I have the latter name, so when they hear my Mother refer to me as something else and then begin to speak in Greek, well, then it gets awkward. Fortunately, though, only one of my cousins was nearby, and they personally don't care what I'm named or what religion I am. In fact, my name being "Kosta" on Facebook and my page information listing me as an Orthodox Christian was a huge point of controversy between my parents and I for fear that one of my three paternal cousins would rat me out. I'm blessed that they're a bit more modern than their elders, so they haven't breathed a word of it nor will they.
My apologies, let me continue. The next problem was really my own fault. When I went on a Real Break trip to Constantinople/Istanbul, I was given a given a lapel pin by the personal driver of His All Holiness who was with us the entire week because His All Holiness had booked a surprise vacation to Norway and he had nothing else to worry about. It's a beautiful pin that has the title and name of His All Holiness on it in green, red, and gold. Well, I promised the driver, Mr. Avramahis, that I would wear it every single chance I got, and I'm stubborn enough that I wasn't about to break the promise so soon. I got very few questions about it, and most of the time, "I got it in Turkey" sufficed. One relative did however ask what it meant, but I was able to get around what exactly it said by showing her a picture of all of us (another aside: I told them that my university was offering the trip and it was made up of Orthodox Christians, Uniates, and Latins, and we were for both the Constantinopolitan and Armenian Patriarchs. They didn't question why my friend from highschool who goes to Notre Dame went, and thank God for that!), the Patriarchal Driver included.
Communion itself went better than I could have imagined. My grandmother sat with the utmost immediate family so we were two rows behind her. Not to be crass, but I had a lot of seltzer water in the car-ride over, so as soon as the communion hymns started, I ran to find the restroom. I also had recently misplaced my small, everyday komboskini that isn't noticeable in the palm of my hand, so what I brought with me is my jet-black, woolen, 100-knot komboskini which is not so easily concealable. But, I wasn't about to go out of my way to hide one of the most precious things that I own, and nobody asked me where my rosary went, so I didn't even have a reason to do so. Oh, the only awkward incident during preparation for communion was when the priest asked us all to kneel, I just sort of wanted to sit because we're still in the Feast of the Ascension (and I was not about to stand), but my Mother decided at that moment to lose control of the sound of her voice and when she said, "Kneel, Kosta!" it came a lot louder than she had intended. Either no one noticed or no one cared, because I was in the clear. Oh, also, it's a tradition for the funerals of police officers to have a policeman come in uniform and help with the process. Now this police officer was my Dad's friend and partner, and he knows that I'm Orthodox, and off to the side of the casket near the flowers, he starts asking me about my cross and what my pin meant and my Dad explained to him our situation. His response was "That's okay, I became Protestant. Your mother is going to want to go after me before she goes after him!" It made me laugh and reminded me that my predicament is just so bizarre.
So, that's my story. The service was awkward at times, but with Divine Providence I got through it. I live to fight another day as a quasi-crypto-Orthodox. Everyone's words and prayers made me feel better a hundredfold. I think that I should start posting here more often and maybe get to know you all better. Today I read a story here about a gentleman from Kerry who had even more problems with his conversion than I did, and it was extremely uplifting.
I still maintain, however, that I'm happy that I was baptised Catholic. Having to fight for my religion, it gives me a feeling that I don't really think I can describe. Again, thank you all.
Yours in Christ,