This weekend we laid my Father to rest.
It was rushed. I kept asking myself why are we rushing?! It actually made me angry with how fast we were moving. I mean the man died Wednesday, Friday there was two wakes and Saturday we had the funeral. What was the reasoning for a rushed service? We’re not Jewish. . .
We left at 11:00pm Thursday night to begin driving 12 hours to New York. Packed in my Mom’s gold mini van. My Step Dad driving the whole way because he refuses to let anyone else drive and my Mother his copilot. My brothers in the 2nd row with the seats laid back. Practically in my lap. I had the back row to myself. I tried laying down to sleep, but with my brothers all the way back lets just say we’re lucky I’m not claustrophobic. Although, I might have developed it, because at every stop I practically jumped over the seats to esacape even if it was only for 10 minutes.
We arrived on Long Island, New York at about 11:00am. We made it to my Step Grandparents house in time to change and make it look like we didn’t just spend 12 hours in a car. I manged to drink a cup of coffee and choke down half a bagel even though I wasn’t hungry.
At 2:00pm there was wake number one, but before that at 1:30pm it was a private veiwing for just family. We were the first at the funeral home. As my family showed up one by one I gave them each a hug. I haven’t seen a lot of my family in a hot second so it was good to be with them for just for a moment. Then we all went in together.
My brothers and I walked up together to see my Dad. He didn’t look like my Dad. He was so thin and they had completely shaven him. He was bald and no facial hair. Never in my life have I ever seen this man look like this. The sight of him laying there was too much for me. I broke down and continued to cry for awhile.
On a TV monitor beside him was a slide show. Almost all of the pictures were of my Dad with me and my brothers, or of me and my siblings when we were little. Which made me think back on a lot of my childhood. This made me cry more. When I was little I remeber looking up at my Dad and thinking he was so tall and strong. (The man was 6’4..)
As the first Wake closed we took a few hours to break and have dinner with the family. It was good to catch up with them. There’s also something super comforting about my Grandmother’s house. I’ve always loved this house and the older I get the smaller it seems. It just blows my mind that this house was built for my Grandparents forever ago, that 5 kids grew up there, and it’s housed so many memories over the years. Not to mentioned it’s barely changed. It for me is a safe place.
As 7:00pm gathered closer we were at the funeral home once again for the 2nd wake. This one was a little easier. My Uncle had given me a photo albulm and in it was pictures from when we had last gone to Disney World and my Dad surprised us by showing up. He looked so healthy and full of life. I ended up putting these on a board along with other pictures other people had shown me. I found comfort in these. I ended up sswiping as many pictures as I could.
The room was full of people that I have never met in my life. For a full room I’ve never felt so alone. The worst part is complete strangers coming up to me to give me a hug and then saying the words “I’m so sorry for your loss.” How do you respond to that? All I could say is “Thank you” or “Yeah, me too.” It’s just so awkward and uncomfortable. Why is it customary that you have to hug me or touch me in some form. . .Half way through I realized I smelled like a combonation of people’s perfumes which just nauseated me. .
The Deacon ended up leading the entire room in a prayer after saying some words about my Father. Which was awkward for me to hear, because I’m not Catholic and I don’t believe in heaven or hell. (I have my own beliefs that I’ll go into more another time.) After all the praying my Uncle then gave a speech about my Dad. Which broke my heart because that was his best friend. I managed to keep it all together until my Uncle mentioned that my Dad’s greatest accomplishment was me and my brothers, and how much he loved us. That he was the proudest of me, because I followed my dreams and got my BFA this year. I completely lost it. (I’m tearing up now thinking about it.)
It was really awesome to meet and hear from frineds of my Dad’s. I met his life long friends. As in he’d been friends with these people since he was a child. They told me stories and showed be old pictures. I didn’t realize hoe much I didn’t know about my Dad which just makes things hurt a little more. . .
The next day was the funeral. Like I said I’m not relgious so this was already hard for me. I knew that I had been asked to do a reading, but I had no idea that I was the first reading. After the lady was done singing a really beautiful song I was called to the podium and was kind of caught of guard. The entire time I made my way up there all I could think about was my voice training from the previous year. I took a moment and made eye contact with everyone in the church staring at me. Then I took a deep breathe and began to read the words that were in front of me. The entire time I held the podium tight to keep myself from shaking and thought to myself speak slow!! ( I tend to speak really fast when I’m nervous.) It was only fitting that I do the first reading. The first few cues in a show are the hardest and this was the same in my head. Except the nerves I felt were heighten times 10.
I made it through the rest of the service. It was like my brain went blank. As I walked out of the church behing the casket I could hear the bagpipes going I began to cry and I couldn’t stop it. I felt my chest heaving and my Mom try to comfort in which I pushed her off of me. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and having someone touch me only makes it worse. The funeral director handed us eacah a rose to place on his casket as a last good bye. I walked up, kissed my rose, placed it on top, and whispered the words “I love you Dad.” with tears still streaming down my face. I stood there on the curb watching them close up the herse. Still not able to breathe and focusing on the bagpipes. As the herse pulled away I felt the wind pick up which was strange to me considering it was a clear sunny day in early September. I smiled because I know it was sign that my Dad was at peace and everything was going to be alright.
I’m not religious and I don’t know if there is a god or a heaven. But I do believe that every living thing has a soul. Where that soul is now who knows. . .
I did sit in my car when I got home yesterday. . .You’d think after a 12 hour car ride the last thing I’d want to do is sit in a car. I sat there, took a deep breath, and smiled because my car still smells like my Dad. There’s something comforting about that. I then placed the card from the funeral in the Saint Michael’s clip that’s on my passenger visor. Now where ever I’ll go my Dad will be with me physically no matter what. It’s only fitting that it’s in my car considering his life was devoted to cars.
Sympathy is a funny thing. It kind of pisses me off to be honest. I know it should be comforting or it’s suppose to be. But for the most part everyone who’s said they’re sorry and such just makes me mad, because they have no idea how I feel. I barely know what I’m feeling. And maybe sympathy just pisses me off because I’m angry about losing my my Dad. But like what does that even mean? Losing someone..Why do we say that when someone dies? He’s not lost. I know exactly where he is and it’s not like if I find him he’s ever coming back.
I apperciate everyone trying to comfort me. I really do. I think my heart is just going to be broken for awhile.