"I've decided that perhaps I'm bulimic and just keep forgetting to purge."

-- Paula Poundstone

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Conclusions on a country road

Dad’s Funeral, Part 2
Friday, mid-afternoon

After driving nine hours home to Kentucky from Michigan by myself on Thursday, I was exhausted.

Let's be honest: I've been exhausted since I was in Kentucky just a month ago. And really, I feel like I haven't slept well in years.

On this day, Friday, I had woken up several times in the morning but welcomed the chance to go back to sleep when I realized that today was visitation day at the funeral home for the father I barely knew.

I continued this wake-up-then-be-overcome-by-dread-then-nearly-panic-and-finally-fall-back-asleep pattern until Mom came into my room to tell me it was noon.

I rolled over and picked up my phone. I had missed a call from Candace and text messages from Tifany and Tara.

Funny, I'm 34 years old. I've made many friends since moving away to college and then in my 11 years in Michigan.

Yet three friends from childhood were the ones checking in on me on this most grueling and awkward of days.

During lunch, between Mom’s “crunch, chew, chews,” I looked at Friday's local newspaper. That contributed significantly to the aforementioned irritability and sadness.

After such a great phone conversation with my dad’s son on Wednesday night, I had held a smidge of hope that Dad's obit was reprinted on this day after the one that ran Thursday failed to mention me as a survivor.

No such luck.

And then I made the mistake of reading my horoscope.

"It's one of those days when the people you try to please the most are likely to be the least appreciative of your gestures. You can't be all things to all people, so don't even try."

Well, son of a bitch.

All the way home, I had wondered what exactly my purpose was for driving nearly 600 miles for this funeral, beyond the unlikely chance for closure.

"If I don’t know what I'm looking for, how will I know when I've found it?" I posted to my Facebook while driving down I-75.

I came to a few conclusions over the next few hours of that drive.

One: The peace, if any, found this weekend may not be my own.


Come on, God. Could I really be driving 600 miles for someone else's peace? Please don't let that be the case. After 34 years, don't I deserve the peace?

Two: I don't want anyone to go to the funeral home with me. I've had plenty of offers from family and friends, but I don't want to go there with a group of supporters. I don't want to turn this into a production about me. This is not about me.

This visitation and funeral are for Dad’s "real" family. The ones who have known him and loved him all their lives, and who are hurting and mourning. The last thing they need is the long-lost daughter showing up and stealing the spotlight.

Wait, is there a spotlight at a funeral? Well, if so, I don't want it on me.

Yet, I would take a little acknowledgement. I didn't get it all my life. I didn’t get it in Dad’s obit. And I can pretty much expect I won't get it in the funeral service on Saturday, either.

Sigh. What the hell am I doing here?

And that horoscope? Jesus. What if it's about my dad's wife? What if I'm somehow subconsciously hoping to make her feel better in all this, and yet she turns out to be the one who is "least appreciative of my gestures?"

Plus, who at the funeral home will know I'm his daughter? Who won’t? How much more awkward could this be?

My stomach hurts.

But I have to go get ready. Visitation starts in two hours.

To be continued …

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting. You put into words all that is awkward, real, sad and humorous - sometimes all in the same entry. Quite a talent my friend.