Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tears and laughter

My plan was to write this Friday night, but the Admiral's funeral really killed me. I fell asleep about 4 and fell into a really deep sleep. When Mom woke me up at 7 and asked if I wanted dinner, I was so confused. So I did very little that night.

But now, I am all sorts of invigorated.  (OK, that is clearly a lie. I a awake only because I need to feed Claren in an hour.)

I survived the funeral although it made me think of the large fireman who sat next to Dad at Redskin games at RFK. Every time there was a big play, everyone would stand, and every time he would yell, "Everybody sits, everybody sees." He just didn't want to stand. Being a little kid, I always liked this because I could never see over the crowd.

At the funeral, they processed in with the casket, blessed it, anointed it, etc. At least, that is what I assume they did. I still can't see over the crowd.

Other than that ... standard sad funeral. The wake, though, I had to write down stuff in my phone to remind me of the stories to tell.

It will be no surprise to hear me admit to inappropriate laughter. My family gets it -- laugh or sob -- but I did not want to crack up at  the Admiral's wake.

It wasn't easy.

For starters, I was alone for part of it. This was my own fault. Mom, Dad and I went to the evening wake with a couple. We got in some kind of line -- I wasn't sure for what. Dad was chatting with the other couple and I was talking to Mom. She went to find someone, so I was there kind of alone. It seemed to me the line was to see the Admiral.

I don't freak at dead bodies, but I don't really have much use for them. That's not how I'll remember the Admiral or how I see Gram, who was the last dead person I saw.

So I got out of line. Dad called to me, but I just shook my head and wandered around looking at all the family photos and stuff. Until Mom found me and asked if I had seen the Admiral's  wife. Apparently, the line was to see  the Admiral and his wife. Dang.

I got back in line with Mom. Squeezing back to Dad would have been tough. Plus, I did not want to cut in line.

Mom left again, after ordering me to stay in line, and the trouble began.

Being alone with my brain is rarely a good thing. Claren helped, but she is retired so I can't bring her out in public anymore.

I was getting real sad, and tears would have been bad. I was alone so tears, once started, would be unlikely to stop and  would not be nice quiet tears. It would be monster sobs.

To prevent that, I started thinking of cheery things, and the scene from Wedding Crashers when two of them crash a funeral springs to mind. Oh lord, I am sorry, Admiral.

Then, while I am trying not to bust out laughing, which like the tears would be neither brief or quiet, this woman actually does cut in line, like she totally didn't see me. I almost lost it at this, and then I wondered whether to try to pick her up a la Wedding Crashers.

Fortunately, Mom came back at this point, and I made it through the rest of the line.

Talking to Mrs. The Admiral was tough. I said something to her, and it made her cry. I was glad, which sounds awful, but it told me that my comment was the right thing to say.

I then was done and went to sign the guest book before I left. It was at an inconvenient height and the pen was real skinny, so my signature, which is awful on a regular basis, was particularly bad. It wasn't a signature either; I just printed my name.

One of the ushers was watching, and when I finished he said, "Let me tell you something, that's the best signature in there." He was, I am certain, talking about the heroic effort I took to write it, and I suppose I should have sort of offended, but again I was glad. It was a big effort.

And then I left.

So I made it all through the wake and funeral with neither sobs nor inappropriate laughter ... technically.

In the car after the wake, we were talking, and both popped out. Then at home after the wake, my sister gave me a hug and said "I know that was hard for you," and well, of course, that prompted tears and laughter again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In situations like that I admit to the fine line between laughing and crying. A sick sense of humor is what makes it possible to get through life when it is tough. I actually think it is a gift that many people don't have.

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