Not a great week … not by a long shot!
Mom and the family were very impressed with the funeral home … they did everything that we wanted, right down to the smallest detail.
The church service was also quite good. I was impressed that the priest who said the mass came to the wake later in the evening. He was supposed to lead a brief prayer service, but instead got caught up talking to family and dad’s old friends … when my uncle asked when the prayer service would start, the priest noted that a prayer service would just get in the way of people sharing stories, and that this was more important. He did incorporate a few things into the sermon, the next day, but I thought he had a good delivery, and kept things short that had to be short.
At the cemetery, we were met by a delegation from the US Navy. After the final prayers, there was the playing of Taps, and two sailors folded the flag. The folded flag was then given to mom by the officer who blew Taps. Lunch was at Fox’s on Cicero.
I think my sister finally came to terms with dad, which I am glad for. As we were getting ready to seal the casket for the last time, she was crying, and said “This would be easier if I could just hate him.”
My Aunt Joan, one of dad’s older sisters noted to us that he died on the 31st anniversary of her sobriety. She placed her sobriety ring in the casket. I would have told her to keep it.
One of the keywords was of course to get along. Funerals can bring out the worst in people, and I am glad to say that we all got along. The only issue to come up was when Scott’s “friend” arrived. Now, she is a nice young lady, and under virtually any other circumstance I would have welcomed her with open arms. However, things got mildly uncomfortable when Scott’s in-laws arrived. I liked these two folks, and greeted them with mom.
Shortly after that, I took Scott aside, and as gently as I could, told him that it would be best for him and his “friend” and our grieving mother, if she were in the coffee room when his ex-wife arrived.
Scott took my advice, and the wake went well. We desperately love Scott’s ex, and each of us in our own way is kind of bummed that Scott’s “friend” is making life uncomfortable for her.
While the wake went fine, the funeral was another story. Scott’s ex- was there right through to the cemetery. So was Scott’s “friend”. We asked Scott’s ex to sit and stand with the rest of the close family (Scott’s “friend” wisely chose against doing this), but she politely refused. Mom has decided to make it a priority to iron out exactly where she stands in the family, and make sure its clear that she has nothing at all to be ashamed of.
As if all of that didn’t suck enough, I was supposed to take my two aunts and uncle out to dinner on Saturday night … when something hit … puking, etc. Instead of dinner and finally going home, I was flat on my back tired but unable to sleep. I finally headed home today … still tired, still sick, and still unable to keep liquids in me (though at least the puking has stopped).
I’ll close with this. I came to terms with dad several months ago. I didn’t cry once during this whole time, but know that I need to monitor myself for a while to make sure that if I suddenly need some help, that I seek it out (and thank you for offering me your help). The only time I got a twinge of nerves when when they opened the parlor to view the casket for the first time.
The undertakers did an absolutely remarkable job. After seeing him so depressed and worn down and sick in the hospital, he not only “looked good”, but absolutely looked his old healthy self. I think this probably helped in saying good bye, as it gave the family a chance to see him in a good light instead of the yellow eyes and tubes sticking out of every corner and malodorous soil. Only if you looked carefully would you notice this was a cadaver, not someone taking a nap.
To all of you who gave your support, near and far, I thank you, and my family thanks you.