Five Weaklings and a Funeral
For example, we noted how ridiculous people were when they approached us in line. They asked questions like, “How are you doing?” or “How have things been?” How do you think we are doing? Whenever someone said “Let us know if there’s anything at all we can do to help,” we always wanted to respond with a ridiculous request. “You know what? A milkshake would be killer right now.” People would try and catch up with our lives. My brother and I toyed with the idea of making fliers with a short biography on them to hand out to people who asked too many questions. “Yes, I am a lawyer. And thank you, I have gotten handsome, haven’t I?” Interspersed among our glares of contempt and fake smiles were acute, incisive fashion critiques of the visitors. After all, the family that pokes fun with sardonic humor together, stays together. Or something. We even tried to convince my youngest cousin that she was my grandmother’s least favorite. Good times!
In typical WASP fashion, we saved all our histrionics until the last minute. The worst part was watching how frail and hurt my grandfather was. He’s a tough as nails, O’Reilly watching, no-nonsense, war hero guy, and this was, as he admitted, the toughest thing he ever had to go through. Mind you, his WWII Battleship was sunk and he has been shot at by foreigners. The ministers eulogized that my grandparents were an institution in the town, and that got all the grandkids crying. Seriously, everyone in the area knows them and by extension, they know me. They also extolled many of her virtues, including her blunt honesty and noted that this noteworthy part of her personality would be carried on by the rest of her family. All of the grandkids, slight in frame, made for what might have been the weakest lot of pallbearers in American history. How we did not drop the casket was some sort of divine providence beyond my understanding. We prepared her for burial by wrapping her in a blanket I bought for her in Ireland. The Coast Guard was present for the military funeral (she served in WWII while your grandma was writing letters- BooYa!), played “Taps” and presented my Grandfather with a flag on behalf of the President of the United States. Best thing Bush has ever done for me.
When all was said and done, we ate more. Then we napped. Then we ate more. Mothers' Day's timing was impeccable. ( I got my mom a paper shredder in lieu of flowers.) It will be so strange going to my grandmother's house and not having her there. I searched through her bedroom for something to steal to remind me of her. She was a notorious packrat and there was lots of junk to pick through. I ended up taking a small adjustable desk calendar that I always used to make reflect the wrong date, thinking I was the most hysterical child on earth pulling off a prank like that. And true to form, she let me think that.
When my other grandmother died, was in eighth grade. I was petrified to do anything bad thinking she would be watching from Heaven. (This included masturbation. The death of my grandmother coupled with the PeeWee Herman scandal made me one very confused, pent up young man. Looking back, I think this is why I hated eighth grade so much.). I feel like I am much more at peace with this death if you catch my drift. I am back at work, and I will be taking friends and family for granted again in no time. Before then though, I will focus on all the love and support I felt over the past week. Life goes on, and so do we. Just how we do it is no mystery.
I promise that upcoming posts will be virtually free of any sappy sentimentality.
With that, vaya con dios, abuelita. See you on the flip side.