Thursday, November 22, 2012

I'm Numb; Going Through the Motions.

Funerals are a big business. We went to the funeral home on Wednesday. We went through the litany of forms to fill out for the arrangements,  then there is cremation or burial, prayer cards to pick out, questions about flowers, do we want a video and a memory book and more?

We nixed the limo. Mom chose cremation and I decided against the video and memory book.

It's all part of the package. It's to help create memories. It's all sales pitches.

Well, by Friday, I started to freak out about having my father cremated. It's perfectly acceptable according to the Catholic Church, but not to me. I started stressing over the thought of it and I just couldn't do it. I was honoring my mom's wishes. Dad never talked about what he wanted, so my mom decided that sounded best. But then, I spoke up and we decided to have him buried. It didn't make any of these any easier. He's still dead and never coming back again, but I found some peace knowing his body is still whole. I certainly don't want cremation for myself and could not make that choice for him.

So... trying to change funeral plans on a weekend when the cremation is set to take place the following Monday-- after the Rosary earlier in the evening. I made a few phone calls, sent emails and first thing Saturday morning the director on duty called me back and said it was no problem to make the changes. When I talked with Stephen, the day of the Rosary, he said he completely understood. He was very kind and accommodating. he made us all feel at home at the mortuary on the day of the Rosary.

I didn't know what to expect for the Rosary. We arrived at 4, the allotted time for family and close friends. My cousin came up from Silver City and other family came and visited from the 4-5 p.m. visitation.

There were people I never expected to see there, distant family, one of his caregivers and some of my friends came to show their support. It was overwhelmingly good. There was a lot of love for my dad there and it meant a lot to me that so many dear friends and family came. One of my other cousins came, but didn't stay for the Rosary. She had a good excuse, at least she believe it and left.

We had a break on Tuesday. The funeral was Wednesday and incredibly lovely. I was so glad we had it at the Cathedral and Fr. Adam was able to celebrate the Mass for us. Again, faces I didn't expect to see where there and sadly, faces I expected to be there didn't come. I don't know why they chose not to come and honor my father's memory. If it was because it was at a Catholic church, if they were truly busy or just felt unwanted/unwelcome. I will never know because I won't ask them. Their absence said it all especially as they showed up at the Burial as if nothing else happened that day. Stephen, our funeral director was awesome in how he kept us moving on time at the cemetery and we didn't have to interact with too many people until after the burial.

I thought the ceremony at the National Cemetery would get to me. We had a full honor guard but it was very moving and poignant. I think my father would have liked it.

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