It’s Sunday morning after Pops’ wake/viewing/service/whatever-the-hell-that-was. You know how some people have weddings that last a full weekend? Well, these people are having a funeral that lasts even longer than that. This is the first time that someone I’ll actually miss has passed away. You know, someone who touched my life in such a way that his absence will be felt. It sucks. It also sucks that they didn’t have anything planned. I spoke to my dad yesterday and told him they needed to get their shit together, make a will, call a lawyer, something. Because trust me when I say to you, I will NOT be able to do all that and make all of those decisions when he passes, especially if he goes before my mother who lives in her own little world. There’s the advice for the day, folks. If anyone you love is over the age of 60, talk about it now. Death and taxes, people. It's going to happen.
I took off work Friday and went to my mom-in-law’s house when she wasn’t there and cleaned it from top to bottom. It made me feel useful since other than writing, cleaning is pretty much the only thing I’m good at. While my mom-in-law was at the funeral home a stray dog wandered up to them, a collie, which just happens to be the kind of dog Pops used to have. Needless to say, my mom-in-law has a new dog. She’s really sweet but something’s wrong with her back for sure and maybe she’s sick too? I don’t know. I hope that all works out though; I’ve always wanted a Lassie Dog.
The service was Saturday and it was just awful. You walked into the place and to the left was a little copy of a church and to the right were a few rooms. Pops was laid out in one of them and in the other they had a slide show of pics of him and all of us accompanied by sad, war-hero type country songs…you know, just in case someone wasn’t already crying. For whatever reason, we had to be there right at 1 and sit there until 3 while people came in and out to look at him. (I didn’t go in the room. Couldn’t do it. That’s a whole other post.) My husband, he’s just not good with that stuff. He ended up in the other room alone, fighting tears the entire time. He kept saying things like, “I never really appreciated him” or “I don’t know what to do now.” Broke my heart.
The service was given by my mom-in-law’s pastor who is black. I only mention this because he was the only black person in the room. I’m sure he felt odd. But he pulled through like a trooper. Nice things were said, but not nice enough. I’m mad at myself for not getting up to say something about him. I wanted to, like how Myron told me he learned how to treat a woman from him or how he always made me feel welcome and truly did make the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever had in my life, but I stayed seated. I guess he knows.
After, there was a reception at the American Legion where Pops hung out. By that time I had a headache from crying and ten minutes into standing in the smoke filled room, I thought I was going to puke so Myron took me outside. He’d already said he didn’t want to go in there, so I think he was glad for the excuse. You’d think this would be the end of my tale, but no! There’s more! We still have to go to this veteran’s cemetery thing on Monday and actually bury the man. Like I said a weekend, plus some, of a funeral.
Death does weird shit to people. My husband was acting like a crazy person for two days. Didn’t shower, hitting himself in the head, yelling at me…it was insane. My bro-in-law was a hot mess too. People handle their grief in their own ways, though. I’m writing to you. That’s how I deal. I write. I don’t want all that when I die. I want all of my parts donated to whoever can use them, to be cremated and then for someone to drive my ashes to the highest place they can get to in the Tennessee mountains and let my ashes scatter with the wind. I don’t want some sad music playing and me that doesn’t look like me laid out in the box they're going to put me in the ground in for all to see. If anything, maybe a few people get together to read something I’ve written or eat really good food and be happy. The ones who really gave a shit too, not random people who suddenly want to act like we were close. Like I said, death does weird shit to people, but I guess when I’m dead, I won’t really care.
Just FYI – I think there’s a really good country song hidden in those words up there.