Thursday, January 27, 2005

Just Another Day at a Funeral

Today is the first chance I’ve had to get to my blog. Where do I begin to thank you guys for the kind words? Every one of you who left a comment made me cry. The good kind of cry. The “a lot of people really care about me cry” which was exactly what I needed.

I find my heart touched by those who comment on my blog. I know mine is not always chock full of humor like the Toaster Oven. Hopefully, one day soon, my life will settle down and I won’t find the need to use this forum as therapy. Until then…

Thank you Pony and Duncan and Hot Toddy and Laura and Pua and Knotty Boy and Matt and Chad and Dr. P and Jennir for your comments on the 19th. When I can get rid of the lump in my throat, I will respond to each of you individually. You guys are the best.

So to begin my story…

I picked up Jim’s ashes on Thursday. The minute I had that plastic box o’ brother in my arms, I could feel his presence. The response I anticipated was to feel resolved to it being the last time I would physically be with him. What I didn’t expect was being able to feel him the way I did. Everything would be okay and thanks to him, I knew it. At least regarding this particular chapter. It was as though his spirit penetrated me completely. It was all-consuming. All I could do was smile and talk to him a mile a minute.

On my way home, I stopped for lunch. I took him into Who Song and Larry’s with me – not advertising, of course, it was my brother’s remains. I entered the Cantina and took a table by the window that overlooked the Willamette River and placed him on the table. I ordered a Pomegranate Margarita on the rocks, and toasted him (we had pomegranate trees in our back yard when we were kids).

On Friday morning, I headed over to Toddy’s to pick him up. He stepped out his front door and all I could say was, “Wow!” He looked hot (not hot enough to want a boyfriend though). If I weren’t a lesbian and he weren’t gay, I’d have done him! Black Dockers, Black Turtleneck, Black blazer. His hair was perfect. I was going to be proud to introduce him to my family.

Fast forward past the two hour drive to the coast, and I began introducing him to my family. It was at this point I realized that I should have sent him back inside his house to change when we were at his place. It was a freakin' Levi's convention - my family is so informal.

Let me interject here and tell you that I have given Todd the freedom to blog about his experience with my family. It’s unlike that which he has experienced before. What’s normal to me certainly wasn’t for him. (Sorry Hot Toddy’s Toaster Oven, really! You're a stronger man for it, I'm just certain!).

Just so you have background. I am one of 14 children. 13th of 14. 10 boys, 4 girls. Eight by my parents together. And there are five half-brothers and a half-sister. We were, for all intents and purposes, raised together. As “together” as you can be with the variance of age. There was never a line in the sand with “them” and “us.” We were a family and that’s all we’ve known.

With my brothers having lived through the ‘60’s, they are a wild bunch. Though hardworking, responsible citizens now, they have lived their lives fast and hard. They have had the occasional indiscretion with the law. They are not upper-crust, white-collar types. Toddy learned this first hand last Friday.

To summarize for you:

My bro Bobby was smashed. We were hoping he wouldn’t drink before the funeral but he did. What can you do? He had just lost his best friend, his brother.

When my nephew, Eric (Jim’s son), spoke at the beginning of the service, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

I anticipated more of a biker-type funeral (Harley Davidson’s not bicycles) with people having the ability to say a few words. Instead there was a lot of Preacher-speak. I don’t want this at my funeral. Get my friend The Druid to do a ritual of some sort, let whoever wants to speak do so, and then party.

The preacher-guy was Jehovah’s Witness. My sis-in-law’s preference. This is unfamiliar territory for this Pagan. Between him speaking of things that made no real sense to me and batting around that piece of candy in his mouth, AND the continued flipping through his Bible to find whatever verse he was referencing (mark the pages next time, dumb ass), I thought I would going to die of boredom (this was a bad reference, I know).

Let me just say he made it easy to maintain my composure and not cry.

At the end of the service, when my drunk-bro Bobby picked up the bronze Urn o’ Jim and proclaimed he wanted to say a few words, everyone in the crowd held their breath hoping he wouldn’t drop Jimmy or make a total ass of himself. He pulled it off nicely. It was sad and heartfelt and moving.

My sis-in-law had a gathering at her and Jim’s place afterward. There was quite a spread. Fit for carnivores and vegetarians alike…just ask Toddy!

My family is very much the type to stand around in the yard laughing and joking around. We are a verbose family, none of which are shy. All of which have a great sense of humor and all of which are extremely sexual creatures. It’s a blessing, it’s a curse, it’s a blessing, it’s a curse.

Conversations varied, all were surrounded with laughter. My family tends to separate themselves unintentionally (or intentionally. Whatever). This particular day was no different. It was the Hatfields and the McCoys with regard to who was outside and who was in the house. We’re a tight bunch and protective. It takes quite a bit to be considered part of the family. Again, just ask Toddy!

My nephew, Keoni, flew in from Hawaii. It was nice to see him…just ask Toddy!

HTTO had the… ahem…"privilege" of meeting my ex-husband. I’m sure it was a joy…just ask Toddy. Todd was able to see how much my daughter looks exactly like her Dad.

My ex was pretty liberal with the evil-eye from what I understand. Poor Todd. I suspected that my ex was jealous when he saw me with Todd. You know, I traded in the 5’10” blonde for the 6’6” blonde.

It wasn’t until we were gathered outside bullshitting that he finally asked me, “Is he… uh…” “Just friends,” I replied. “Oh! Then is he, uh…” “Yes, he’s gay.” “Oh, that’s cool.” What an insecure little shit.

On the way home, the Toaster Oven and Auburn Aries and I stopped in Astoria, Oregon to have some Mexican food and a cocktail. This is where Hot Toddy’s Toaster Oven realized just how much my daughter has my personality and sense of humor. I’ll let him tell you about that little story along with all of the other "just ask Toddy" references. The events at the restaurant were a normal occurrence for me, but he found humor in it. In all honesty, it is a cute story.

Hot Toddy was a phenomenal support that day. I don’t know that there will ever be words enough to thank him for all he’s done and continues to do for me. I can’t wait to read his comedic perspective of spending a day with my family.

And I’d like to say thank you to Pua, especially. Your call Friday night from The Orange County Vortex made my day. Okay, it’s made more than my day as your words are still within my heart. Please know the feeling is mutual.

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