Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's too early to be coherent

The Funeral That Wasn't wasn't as bad as I'd worried it might be, though it certainly didn't start off auspiciously. (Five hours on the road--more than a full hour in dead-stoped traffic--for a three-hour trip resulted in us being nearly an hour late for the memorial, and arriving way after everyone else. You know. Two of his three daughters, late to his memorial. Freud woulda had a field day, no?)

It was very casual, but still, people spoke. I spoke, briefly. One of my aunts spoke. Dad's girlfriend's son, who organized the event, spoke. Even Em summoned up the nerve to say a little something (about the backwards dinner we had last year when we visited with Dad and his girlfriend). She was so nervous about the whole speaking-at-a-funeral thing, and worried about it all morning, despite my telling her MANY times she didn't have to say a word if she didn't want to. But she was so pleased with herself afterwards for doing it.

We left after a few hours of drinking (yes, caipirinhas) and talking, but went back after nightfall, to scatter the ashes, and that was...kind of profound. And yes, that was, again, much to my surprise. Also much to my surprise, Em and my nephew both really wanted to play an active role in the ash-speading. And so they did.

I can't really think of what else to say. I'm staring at the screen, sort of in overload. I slept remarkably well the night before the memorial, considering how nervous I was (very) and how overtired I was (very). But last night? All the voices of my past haunted my sleep. I've been up since 5 am (i.e., 2 am in my Cali-entrained brain) and just could not go back to sleep. There are too many memories, even just from yesterday. Little bits and pieces keep popping into my head...a funny anecdote from yesterday reminding me of a slight from two decades ago, one voice leading to another voice leading to another voice leading to some kind of brief, sharp pang of hurt or regret.

Clearly, I need either some very strong coffee or some even stronger psychopharmaceuticals. Probably the latter.

I will say that my very favorite part was the tumbler of scotch--his signature, but by no means only, drink--that Dad's girlfriend's Irish family put on a table in the center of the circle of chairs. Definitely gave me the "Dad is among us" feeling. I told them I thought he would have laughed until he cried over that touch.

My sister and I have planned our own version of a memorial service for Monday: We're going to take Em and my nephew into Manhattan to do a "post-divorce Sunday with Dad" tour. In other words, we're going to the museums of our childhood, the places that, in the early-to-mid-1970s would be almost embarrassingly packed each Sunday with dads trying to figure out what to do with their kids on Visitation Day. My Dad was very much among them. Now, of course, I realize that in large part that weekly museum tour was due to the fact that we couldn't spend much time at his apartment, where he was living with the woman who would be my stepmonster...but nevermind that right now. And see what I mean about those ghosts from the past?


jeanie said...

All sounds like it went better than expected - and I hope you get to enjoy the good moments that you shared with your dad in your post-divorce tour.

divinemissk said...

thinking of you tc.