Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bye Bye Daddy

I'd like to apologize for the several weeks hiatus I've had on my blog. But in my defense I've been dealing with quite an emotional journey. I was estranged for several years from my father, but at one point I was his favorite and life was jolly. He passed away this past week.

This blog may seem disrespectful, but if you had known my Dad you would know he would have gotten a kick out of it.

When I got to the hospital he was pretty much gone. I would never have recognized him.

My father was six foot one, but the huffing frame in the hospital bed was only five foot something and that includes the one leg he had left. The smell was nauseating. An overwhelming mix of decay, unwashed body and infection. When I asked the nurse about it, she looked at me strange and offered an air freshener. Turns out it wasn't my father but a couple of guests in the hospital.

My Dad was moved from the hospital to the hospice later that afternoon. I was angry with the decision initially, as I didn't think it fair that he couldn't die at home. But in retrospect, the hospice was the better choice. I waited at the hospital until he was moved and then took my brother and his two daughters to dinner. Perhaps I should have skipped the dreadful chimichanga. He died while we were dining and I had to make peace with his corpse.

The wonderful caregivers at the hospice gave me an hour alone with him and I was able to tell him everything while everyone else waited outside. I loved the old man and I have forgiven him for being such a bastard, but he was what he was and I can't talk him into heaven.

The next day bedlam ensued...but what else could be expected. We're spooky and we're cooky, we're the real Addams Family.

That night was the viewing...

My other sister, better known as Jabba the Hutt, you may have seen her movies, had every right to come and she did. She also brought her three grandchildren, all under the age of four, and allowed them to climb up the side of the coffin and play pat the dead guy. In which they commenced to accurately describe his temperature, “He's cold,” which thanks to their speech impediments came out more like, “He goal—ed.”Seeing as how my father refused to see them when he was alive, I don't think he would have appreciated it when he was gone, but there you have. He couldn't rightly tell them to get off, so someone had to. As we don't speak, I'm likely to kill her if I do, I asked her son to please have the children crawl out of the coffin. Which he did, loudly...

My father's brothers, one of whom at age 82 had just had his heart stopped and restarted by the hospital prior to his trip to view his baby brother's body, were so upset they left shortly after and I didn't even get to say goodbye. Neither attended the funeral.

Ensuring all are informed...

For days I had tried to reach my crazy sister who was committed down in Myrtle Beach for allegedly attacking a gang member who attempted to steal her Clonapin. The nut house was refusing to tell her that our father was ill. So when I called to beg them to tell her our father had passed they kicked her out on the street with only a phone call to her insane fiance, he gets a free check too.

Upon discovering she was out, I convinced him to wake her up. I quite possibly may have threatened to go down there at that instant. I could hear him screaming at her and slapping her through the receiver and I nearly went ballistic. I am a ginger and sometimes can be a wee bit hotheaded.

The next morning my darling husband finally arrived to stay and stated the obvious that we couldn't waste ten hours driving back and forth to Myrtle, so we paid for a bus ticket for her. (She won't fly, afraid of the little men in the engine or something.)

Onto to the funereal....

My father was an atheist. But at one point, trying to get into an old Mexican woman's drawers, he'd decided to become a Catholic. As that same Mexican woman later became the reason we were estranged I was unaware that he had never succeeded in converting to Catholicism. That is until the funeral. The same woman and her daughter, my stepsister, a truly beautiful person inside and out, go figure, right?...insisted on a Catholic mass and that's what we had.

The priest made a point of saying that my dad was not a Catholic, did not believe in god, and yet, lo and behold, he had to come back to the church where apparently he had had some sort of falling out. While not specifically noted, it was insinuated that words had been exchanged with the other priest and thus he was not holding the service. It sorta smacked of a, “Aha! I told you so.”

The service would have still come off without a hitch, except for the guitar playing, I shit you not, male choir leader who was barefoot... yep barefoot. I tried hard not to think of the Athletes' Foot problem that he must have been raging on with as he couldn't wear shoes to a funereal.

My sister, Jabba the Hutt, once again brought the dead-loving children and attempted to have them receive the eucharist. Thank goodness for the all-in-good-stride priest who simply patted their heads and sent them back to their seats. My other sister, Little Miss Crazy hobbled down the aisle half-way through the mass to go throw up loudly, very loudly.

So you can see a good time was had by all.

But alas, that's not the end of the story. There's a back story, isn't there always a back story?

Unbeknownst to the rest of us, Jabba the Hutt, had taken the liberty to go to my father's house the night before the funereal to request a photograph on behalf of my mother from his newly bereaved widow. Naturally, she couldn't be expected to wait at least a decorous two months for said pic, my mom had already been waiting 30 years. And with her Alzheimer's she might not remember she had wanted the photograph of her dead husband. Yes, she seems to have an issue remembering that they were divorced. Jabba, not one to let a good opportunity go to waste, asked for the dining room table, a tiller, a box of photographs and threatened to kill the aforementioned Mexican woman, his widow.

So that was a brewing...

Thanks to my husband, the voice of reason, warning me to let it go, I was intent on being the bigger person, not easy when Jabba weighs upwards of 600lbs. Yet, we still needed to say our goodbyes to my Mama after the service, which thankfully she didn't attend. As she made a point of telling me that my father was probably knocking on his casket to have been in a Catholic Church. Great visual, right? She attended the viewing, something about needing to apologize to his widow for having called her a whore by my Dad's hospital bed a couple of weeks earlier. As a great Christian, she couldn't have that little faux pas stealing her seat on her own heavenly bus ride.

Even with the knowledge of Jabba's midnight stroll and my Mama's fit of jealousy over a one-legged man, I managed to not have a conniption. But when Mama made some comment about the kids at the service, I said, "...they shouldn't have been there anyway. It was a funereal, not a trip to a Disney World.”

Next thing I know, Jabba the Hutt comes barreling out of the trailer, nearly rolling down the three swaying steps screaming at the top of her lungs that her grandkids had every right to attend their grandfather's funereal. I ignored her. She turned around headed back into the trailer teetering on meltdown and we thought her tirade was over. That for Jabba was a tiny tirade not counting the effusive use of brilliantly colored language, none of which can be used in polite company.

BUT of course not. Apparently she just needed to catch her breath, her weight in the SC humidity would be tough on anyone, because five minutes later, she's back. The demon bull has been unleashed and my ignoring her screams is infuriating her to a level only seen in horror movies. Next thing I know, she's looming over me, fourteen jagged stitch scars across her forehead and all, threatening to slice me into bacon bits. I may have mentioned something to the affect that I prefer fish so perhaps sushi would be a better choice and my darling hubby was demanding we leave.

I could tell you more, but those are the highlights and I hope you've enjoyed them.


  1. Wow! And my mom calls my two sisters and me crazy! (not in a mean way, she just doesn't understand us) What an awful time you had, I'm sorry.