The only sad time during the process of laying my dad to rest was the funeral. The only reason it was sad was because the priest decided to go all fire and brimstone on us. Which I might expect from a ninety-year-old, but don’t expect from one who is 20 or 30 years younger than I am. Actually, give me an old, Irish Jesuit any day.
The service was elaborate. Not more elaborate than Mom’s, she had two priests and a bishop saying her mass. I gather it was an effort to find a priest at all on a holiday weekend. So we were stuck with Father Hell, who really knew how to take the fun out of funeral. (Many thanks to whoever Tweeted that line yesterday.) And my sister had to explain to her young sons that they don’t have to take that theology to heart.
We had a duet of musicians, and we by goddess sang every verse of every hymn. It went on for hours. Well, OK, only one hour, but Wow! Were we ever immersed in Catholicity. Which was funny because most of the fifty people in church were related to us somehow.
My brother gave the eulogy, and truly praised dad for being a kind and honest man, one who was never biased against anyone. I resisted the urge to get up and announce that he was a fucking fool on the subject of Muslims and Barack Obama. Only because I went there determined not to piss anybody off, and not to get pissed off about anything. Apparently the rest of the family had the same idea. The Miracle of Ages.
During the eulogy my sister Imelda lost it. This is the sister you can hear laugh over the sound of a freight train. The one who gets ejected from her children’s sporting events for being “an overactive fan.” So you can imagine what her blubbering was like. Of course, this almost caused my brother to lose it during the eulogy. I even had damp eyes, myself.
The nice thing about cremation is that you don’t have to look at the body, and have that as your last memory. And since I’d spent a week editing video of my dad in better times, that is what I saw. We could have shown it at the luncheon that followed, except that I couldn’t get it to render. Plays real nice on my computer, won’t go into a transportable form. Fark! That’s OK, because one of the things I got in my goody bag was a picture of my dad in the plane he flew in WWII. A picture I’ve been asking for for months. So that when I do get it into a form where it can be burned to DVD, I will feel it is complete.
Then there was the luncheon, put on by the ladies of the Martha Society. Lovely soups and salads. I sat next to Dad’s lady friend and got to visit with her a bit. I had intended to visit with her more during the week, but that’s a story for another day.
And then we started telling stories on Dad, and Mom, and each other. And it got hilarious again. Especially since some cousins were there to tell stories we didn’t know. And we left at the very last minute to get to the commitment ceremony for my parents, a two hour drive away.
Friday had been disinvited to the church ceremony, so we stopped to pick her up. And then drove like hell. Our contingent was five minutes late to the ceremony, which drove my sister, who will tell you it’s 16:17 and thirty seconds if you ask the time, nutso. I had to remind her that mom and dad weren’t going anywhere without us, and eventually she chilled. We were only five minutes late, but we had to wait until after the ceremony to make a pit stop. Considering that she’d had a venti Starbucks on the way down, this was not good.
Fortunately, I got my ancient Irish Jesuit at the commitment ceremony, and the old boy didn’t waste any time laying my parents to rest. For my money, we could have skipped the whole other thing except the luncheon.
Then made our pit stop at Micky D’s, because soup and salad doesn’t do much for teenage boys. Then drove two hours back, dropped Friday off as she’d been disinvited to dinner. That was fun. Being Valentine’s day, my brother wanted to sit near his partner, and I wanted to visit with them because I hadn’t seen a lot of them. Eventually, we figured it out. And then we started to tell stories again. Fortunately, the restaurant wasn’t very busy, so we didn’t gross anybody out. And two or three of my sister’s proceeded to get roaring drunk. Fortunately, two of them were staying at the hotel where we had dinner, and one had a designated driver. They were cheap drunks, so I don’t think they drink that much. My brother, who had considerably more to drink, was none the worse for wear. Guess who was late to breakfast the next morning? It wasn’t me, I was riding with the Preciselys.