Twenty seven years ago ...
I vividly remember standing in my sister's kitchen without a voice, without emotion and without a doubt, I remember being angry at what was expected of our family in the days that preceded Dad's funeral.
I can remember the emotion almost as if I was living it today.
Mom and my sisters did everything. I stood there and watched. I am not even sure if I listened. I simply watched in horror as they choreographed the events which would take place on the 11th of December, 1987. Four days after Dad died.
It seemed absolutely ludicrous to me that this was expected of a family at a time like this. It was like planning a wedding in less than four days.
Arranging a minister, a church, a time, food, music, flowers, attendants, clothes, words with meaning, writing an obituary ...
I believe someone asked me if I could write it. I don't even know if I answered. What!?!?!! How in the world can someone write something at a time like this? What are you guys doing?
I walked through those days in a fog. Even though we had long since grieved the loss of the father/husband/brother/uncle/friend my dad used to be, the final act of taking his last breath was still final. His life was over. Now there was business to be tended to.
I remember going back home with Mom. My life was sort of falling apart all around us at the same time and I was completely numb to everything that was happening.
Mom sat at the dining room table in her home, with the horrific display of flowers from the funeral surrounding her and she quietly sobbed.
I was as useless as an umbrella in a tornado. I stood there. I don't even think I touched her shoulder. I know I thought I should but I can't remember if I did. The 'umbrella' I held did not shelter either one of us. I was frozen in time. Mom was in the moment.
All I remember thinking is how much I wanted to take those flowers and heave them through Mom's living room window. Thankfully, I was too stunned to act.
I was much quieter in those days. I kept so much more to myself.
I hated Dad's funeral.
Dad spent his entire life going by his middle name. The minister didn't know that and called him by the wrong name for the entire service.
His coffin sat in the front of the church. Dad was in there. Dad was in there? Dad was in there!! Oh. My. Lord. How in the world would we get through this horrific moment in time?
I hadn't cried yet. My marriage had broken apart one week prior and I hadn't cried over that. My husband was making our lives very difficult and I hadn't cried over that. I was living life in limbo, with two small children to protect. And I hadn't cried.
I remember sitting in that church thinking 'If I ever start to cry, I may never stop'. So I didn't cry. I remember looking down. I remember thinking I could not make eye contact. I remember wandering through the ridiculous 'tea' they (we?) held after the funeral. People tell me they remember coming to Dad's funeral. I just remember the blur of faceless bodies.
I have no idea why I wrote these words today. They are not at all what I intended to say. I am thinking of my friend whose mom died two years ago today. I am thinking of the way I invested the year 2014 to making, honoring and collecting memories. I am thinking of the personal touch and special funerals I have attended over the course of the past few years. I am thinking of my own inevitable demise.
I want to write my own obituary. I want to plan my funeral. I want to take the responsibility out of my children's hands because it is a horrible job. Or at least I thought it was twenty seven years ago.
I want to live my quiet little life loudly. I want to make lasting memories which will come out of nowhere and make my children smile long after I'm gone (or better yet, while I am still here to laugh with them!). I told my Second Son "I want my funeral to be short. And snappy. And happy. I want people to laugh." He took half a second to reply and said, "I've got a lot of material to work with!" and he seemed pleased with the idea of turning a sad event into a lighthearted one.
Maybe I should start that obituary today. I will write what I want to become true. Then I will go out and live the rest of my days making it all come true.
Maybe. Just maybe. I am already doing just that...