Friday, August 5, 2011

My Father's Funeral

My Father’s Funeral

My father went from healthy to dying on a ventilator with his lungs full of water from pneumonia in 7 days with nothing we or the doctors could do.  It was devastating and so unfair.

I got the call from the hospital at 2 AM that he had died.  My wife and I got my sister who lived near us and drove to get my mother.  We all, along with my aunt went to the hospital to see him and make arrangements for his being moved to the funeral parlor.  I took my mother and aunt home to stay with us.

That morning we went to the funeral parlor and arranged for the burial the next day.  My mother and father had planned for this so all we had to do was sign a few documents and notify friends and relatives.

When we got home, my aunt and my mother suggested I take them home, which I refused.  The complaining then turned to who was riding in which limo to the funeral parlor and service.  Since I didn’t care, I let them argue and tried to stay out of it.  Impossible to do, they kept trying to get me involved.

Between their arguing about the limo and arguing about whether they should go home or not I was beginning to get really stressed out.  I took to taking Tums in large quantities.
I finally went into my bedroom and closed the door.  They tried to follow me in the bedroom, supposedly to comfort me but really to continue the “discussion”.

I told them to go away, they were giving me an ulcer.  Their solution was to try to come in and give me Zantac.  I thought I was being chased by the 3 witches from Macbeth; although there were only two of them.  I locked them out.  They didn’t realize they were the cause of the problem.

The next morning the limo’s showed up and we all were driven to the funeral parlor in Delray. 

When we got there, the place was packed with friends of my parents from the condo along with my friends and family.  My father was very popular and everyone came.

The funeral parlor set up a reception room where we could sit prior to the service and people could come to see us.

The condo people lined up to come in and we had to set up a reception line to greet them.  My family and I spaced ourselves around the room so as to be able to speak with everyone.

They started coming in.

Now most of the Condo people were fine, but many of them are kvetchy and combative.  They hated to wait in line and this time was no exception.  They became impatient and started making remarks about how long this was taking.

I was first in line for them to speak with. A woman had just come up to me and was saying how sorry she was about my Dad.

The woman behind her suddenly said “Can’t you move along, you’re taking too much time”.

The woman in front of me turned to her and said, “I’ll take as much time as I want and you can’t stop me”.

The situation only got better from there.  They almost came to blows.

I stood there transfixed at what was happening, kind of like a deer caught in the headlights. I had to do something or this whole day would be a disaster. People in the room had noticed the commotion and were staring.  My sister looked like she would like to come over and smack them.

“Ladies. Ladies,” I said somewhat forcefully, “please don’t fight, this is my father’s funeral and you’re causing a scene”.

It gave them pause and they stopped fighting. They continued down the reception line muttering about each other’s rudeness and what they would do to each other.  At each stop, I kept a leery eye on them afraid their fight would break out anew.  They finally exited the room.  I later found out they were friends.

The rest of the day went as planned. The funeral parlor had never seen so many people at a local funeral.

My mother and aunt returned to my house for the Shiva. 

They remained at my house for two weeks.

I continued eating Tums for the whole time they were there.

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