Friday, March 28, 2008

carry on my wayward son

yesterday's was the dotytron's grandpa's service. the dotytron read a short poem he selected (he did quite well, considering he was asked to read only the day before the service)...i thought the poem was absolutely lovely, and very much encapsulated our feelings about grandpa's passing:

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
-Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

isn't that nice? the minister was a pretty decent chap and conducted himself as well as could be expected, considering he didn't know grandpa (i don't think). he made this weird digression where he seguewayed from the dotytron’s speech into this story he wanted to tell, but tried to make it sound like a seamless transition. it kind of went like this: “thank you, dotytron. that reminds me of a story...” then he sauntered over to where the dotytron’s young second cousins (his mom’s niece’s kids. is that second cousin?) were (they’re around 4 or 5) and started telling them this long, rambling story that his minister had told him, about this water bug that was living at the bottom of the lake, and then saw light glimmering on the surface, and swam up to the surface of the lake where the water was born, and then hung out there for a bit, and then one day broke free and became a dragonfly. (!!!!!). at this point, i was already having a small case of the giggles because of the weird segueway, but when he talked about the water bug turning into a dragonfly, me and the dotytron gave each other the sidelong, wtf? looks, because um, that’s not biologically possible. waterbugs are waterbugs and dragonflies are dragonflies. i also just paraphrased like a mofo, because no word of a lie, the minister’s story lasted for like, 20 minutes. it was just too strange a metaphorical leap to take to adequately express his point for the kids (basically, that the waterbugs left behind were happy at the transformation of their buddy into something that could fly and was beautiful). all i could picture was my niece. if someone had come up to here and tried to tell her a story for 20 minutes that was that narratively obscure, i could totally picture the look of skepticism on her features.

all in all, it was a lovely service. it’s hard though. even as you’re welling up, you’re trying to constantly tamp down the rising flood of tears because it’s a CELEBRATION.OF.LIFE. and you keep repeating that to yourself like it’s a mantra, even as you’re bawling your eyes out. it’s nice to have everyone together sharing in memories and fond thoughts and eulogizing someone. i kinda wish that funerals could happen when people were still alive…if you know what i mean, because i think it’s so nice to commemorate someone, and it’s sad that it only happens when they’re gone and can’t have all their loved ones and old friends together in one room, telling them what they’ve meant over the years.

i still think my funeral should be fun. i want it to be a rollicking good time, with funny sketches, and speeches, and youtube video clips, and kansas and journey and gangstarr playing. i want there to be a barbecue buffet, with popeye’s fried chicken, big macs, and filet-o-fishes, lots of cupcakes, and pies. hopefully hologram technology will have progressed to the point where my 3-D talking likeness can be displayed and i can “participate” (like princess leia in star wars) and crack jokes.

there were oodles and oodles of old people at the funeral. the extent to which i get along with old people is mind-boggling. they love me! i’m the hit of the party! i think it’s because we share the same values. old people and i generally see eye-to-eye on: fiscal conservatism, the value of a work ethnic, pension security, shaking our heads and clucking our tongues at the antics of young people, a return to no-nonsense common sense, and handicrafts like cooking, baking, quilting, knitting, and building things with an honest day’s sweat and toil.

tonight i’m having the bwong and dr. rei over for dinner. then we’re going to get together with our friend from out of town, pingy and the roomie, once they get kicked out of my female doppelganger’s house (the female doppelganger is even MORE house-bound than i, and has a 10pm festivity-threshold – after that, you get the boot).

we’re having a southern americana meal. a giant baked ham, glazed with ginger-pear jam. either biscuits or scalloped potatoes or some kind of smothered potato gratin. braised cabbage with bacon and apples or green beans with bacon. carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for dessert.

fin.

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