Feted and Ensconced

I loathe funerals. The entire circus: viewing, service, graveyard sobbing while the casket lowers.

Not all people feel this way of course. Funerals tend to be great family reunions. Folks take pictures of the body in the coffin, selfies of themselves with the body and gather in groups for photos that resemble a cheerful event such as a fish fry or church picnic. I can’t count the number of times I asked my mom to identify a group of black and white people (yeah, I’m old) only to hear her reply “Oh, that was taken at Uncle Ollie’s funeral”. To name only one.

My (adopted) father’s funeral in 1978 was about as surreal an event as I’d ever encountered. The body in the coffin didn’t resemble the man I knew in the least and the Baptist preacher pressed into service had a speech impediment and called my father ‘Johnny’, which might have earned him a punch in the nose had the man himself not been dead as a doornail. The graveside service was where I finally woke to the fact that we were going to leave my father there, in the ground. I was the last to leave; the hardest thing I’d done so far in my short life.

I’ve not attended a funeral since and don’t intend to do so. When the inevitable happens I want a Viking send off – well, the cheap redneck version. Put me in a rowboat and push it off into the water armed with an explosive on a timer. Then forget about me because I’m long gone.

While I type this my birth father, whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and loving these last three years, is having his funeral in another state. Hope they take good pictures of each other.

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