The Life

Published November 14, 2012 by Sandee

My father and I went to a funeral where the minister berated us.  He told us all that we only came to church for funerals and holidays.  He shouted bible passages at us and said little about the dearly departed.  My father sat two rows behind me.  I had floated around saying hello to people and was sitting next to a long-lost cousin when the service started.  Did the…minister just say that we were going to…hell?  I had to look back to see dad’s reaction.  He raised a brow in suppressed glee with a hint of a smile.  I looked back again and saw him gleaming.

I didn’t cry at my father’s funeral. At my father’s funeral there was just a headshot of him that my step mother blew up.  Dad had been cremated.  The life behind his eyes leapt out at us from the photo.

People got up to pay tribute to dad — one advertised his business between the tribute.  Why not pitch a sale to all of the grieving potential customers?  I looked at dad’s gleaming eyes in the photo and stifled laughter.  What would dad say to this?  Dad had a sly sense of humor but would also have compassion for the absurd need of this poor soul.

I also don’t know how he would have liked the song that a lady from the church had sung.  For my taste it was too sweet and generic.  But as you know I’m a weirdo.   I looked at dad’s picture during the song.  While he would have appreciated it, he gleamed impishly at me from the photo.   I would have chosen “Spill the Wine” by Eric Burdon and War.  The fantastical lyrics remind me of him.  The group also had a grimy sensibility like my dad.  My sister cried during this lady’s sentimental song.  My sister and I were the first ones out of the church after the funeral.  “I can’t be-lieve you cried during that song,” I said.  She looked at me with her tear-streaked face and we burst out laughing, standing at the top of the church steps.

While dad was in a coma I cried walking down the street – in the middle of talking to people.  I always thought that if my father died, I would just drop dead.  How would I live?  No one would ever love me like this again.  I used to hear him in my inner-ear while he was still alive, just calling “Sandee.  Sandee.”  There was a black hole now.

I had prayed while he was in a coma.  I guess it worked because after the initial mourning, I felt spiritually revitalized.  They say people born under the sign of Scorpio experience renewal upon death.  Interesting, because it happened to me.  Aside from that, one day the thought came to me, If dad died, it can’t be a bad thing.

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58 comments on “The Life

    • Oh no Pork Chop now I want to cry — I felt like crying writing this but I’m saying, it’s not supposed to be sad. Thanks Porkchop. Maybe I’ll cry once I’ve gone home and wiped off my mascara…

  • People thought I was crying at my father’s funeral but I was actually choking back laughter. We do have a strange sense of humor in my family, hence I do have a habit of laughing at inappropriate times. I loved my father and really the funeral was for the living, I’m not sure what he would have thought of it, part of me thinks he would have been chuckling too.

    • That’s the same way I thought at my dad’s funeral. And I do believe funerals are for the living. I always think they’re kind of better off than we are living in this world with sadness, pain, etc.

  • I was with my brother in law when he died in the hospital. My sister wasn’t in the room. The minute before he took his last breath he started talking to people that were NOT in the room. He was so happy to see this person or people. I think it was his parents who had come to escort him back to heaven. It was AMAZING! I was so happy that I witnessed it. I bet your dad will be right there, waiting to escort you back home, too. What a happy reunion that will be. 😉
    Thanks for sharing that memory – Spill the Wine! Sandee, that cracked me up. Haha!

  • Sandee..love the song choice and it’s good to write about people we love.. I know it’s what keeps this boat sailing..
    Your Dad sounds like a great man 🙂

  • As I read this I thought of the photo you posted of your dad a while back. He had such a nice face, I just know I would have liked him instantly. This was a sweet tribute to a man who was obviously so well loved, Sandee.

    • Thanks Mme. W! I think you would have liked him — he was a gregarious person and very kind. Now he had his flaws of course. But I liked that he was vulnerable and humble enough to admit to some of them. I could wallow in the fact that I don’t have him here to share things with but instead I feel fortunate that he was my father and that we had some very sweet moments. He left me with a great way to look at life.

    • Thanks MFE. Dad was a great person. He was also flawed of course. He and my mom had me when she was 18 and he was only 22 — so they were basicially adolescents, though dad had a job that supported the family. He later became an artist and worked for himself. I think really he shouldn’t have been married with children and should have ideally explored this artistic life into his late thirties, THEN maybe he would have been mature enough to choose the right partner. But who the hell am I to decide those things!

      But I got to tell him before he died that he was my role model — this was I think a couple of years before. So I try telling people I love any kind thing about them that comes into my head right away.

  • My theory? He’s following you around (noncorporeally, of course) whispering terrible jokes to you. He’s smiling and laughing with gleaming eyes whenever you laugh. Your dad sounds like he was just that cool.

        • Oh hohoho! I had this really messed up dream with my dad and me in a car and he cursed me out something terrible, telling me I was no good and would never amount to anything. He railed and yelled. I told a friend of mine who knew him and she was hysterical laughing. Geez — I hope that wasn’t him but maybe it was. He was very loving and was quick to support my efforts and tell me how pretty I was blah blah, BUT — there was something underlying at times where I felt he thought I could be better and also I felt that he was comparing me to others my age who might have been more conventionally successful. Mind you, my dad and mom were very young. I believe that they were adolescents, struggling with their own emotional imbalance and lack of confidence in some areas. I always say I know when my brother and me became adolescents it was hard for them because there was more of a struggle of control for them with us as competitors almost. So — hey, while dad was loving, supportive, blah blah and he was my role model later on in life — when I was younger my mom was the favorite parent — that might have been him in the dream actually. Whew! Geez Mary I just wrote another post didn’t I?

          • Damn near! I don’t think that was your dad. That was all your fears coming to life. If you’re wondering whether it was him, then it wasn’t Don’t ask me how I know, but there’s a difference when it’s really that person. My Uncle Paul showed up in a dream about a month ago, right before my dad made his first recent trip to the hospital. I knew it was him, not just a subconscious wish to see him or some fears. He seemed pretty happy. In the dream I kept asking my dad why he couldn’t see my uncle; maybe it was a friendly warning/reassurance in one.

  • First of all, I don’t know when it happened, but I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Secondly, I ADMIRE the way you face your grief, and how your love for your dad manifests itself in such a positive, beautiful way.
    I lost my mom several years ago after an inspiring struggle with cancer, and I found out what i suspect you did: that when you’re close to a person the death is actually EASIER to take because there are so few regrets. You loved him and he loved you and nothing ever cave either of you cause to doubt that.

    The thing about the minister really upsets me. I was very fortunate as a child to go to an accepting church where it didn’t matter how much money you gave, and if you came back after a while away you were welcomed like the prodigal son. But as I get older I see so many institutions breaking from this and without realizing it, driving people away. I’m pretty sure that’s NOT WJWD.

    • Thank you Smaktakula! What you say about death being easier when you’re close to a person is something to ponder. I think it’s true.

      I think the way this minister behaved illustrates WSWD 🙂

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