The day of dad’s Memorial Service was very long. I mean, funerals are already difficult enough to navigate for the socially awkward… disaster is pre-qualified and built in; what do you say to someone you haven’t seen for thirty years, nice to see you? Because, it’s not “nice” and you both know it’s not. And, I’m telling you, you have to be careful because, when you have been away from home for as many decades as I have, you just never really know to whom you are speaking! And if, like me, you have a faulty memory recall system and a nasty habit of shooting your mouth off, or even worse, telling the truth like a naked man in confession, you can end up pissing a lot off people off! I’m not sure I really care if I piss people off, but I do really care if I unnecessarily hurt or injure family: I am a gentleman, after all.
Funerals are such a cloying, desperate affair. Hell, we don’t even call them funerals anymore; today, we call them ‘Life Celebrations,’ hoping against hope that if we change the name of the terrible procession of death to something else, that maybe, just maybe it won’t really be what it is- a funeral. Yes, yes; I know what my father believed and the faith he had- a belief and faith I share in some meek and inadequate measure- and yes, yes; just like I said, he got the better end of the bargain, because his suffering is done… but you know what?
My suffering isn’t done, not even close. What about yours?
I have a bad, mean and diabolical ache in my head. I see the pooling of awful and dreadful shadows at my feet. There are dark days of reason and reckoning ahead, and I want to say that I am not ready, that I am not up to the task, but the greater and more appalling truth- and therefore, the larger terror- is that I am ready, but that I don’t want to be ready. Does that make sense? It does to me, and I guess that’s all that matters, isn’t it?
I know how it all goes- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance- and of the evil in the days to come, and I used to know what to do when my head hurt and my chest felt tight; when I had an ache in my left eye, and I could feel the weight of the afternoon on my narrow shoulders. I used to know that I could get away to some dark and lonely corner and pray the small prayers, and murmur the soft spells and incantations of my innocent youth to placate my childish fears against the ever encroaching darkness. I always knew that I could retreat, rest and regroup, that I could talk it all out and reason away the desperate loss. I always knew that I could pick up the phone, and call my Dad…
* sigh *
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A DogHouse Manifesto © by Mitchell L. Peterson.
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