Funeral day arrives, alarm clock goes off, normal morning activities resume. Small person has decided that she’d “quite” like to go to school for morning as she want’s to see her friends so next hour or so is spent finding shoes, ties, drinking luke warm tea and general nagging to GET READY. Nagging turns into crescendo as patience running on low and stress levels running at warp speed 6 million. Rein self in as remember today is going to be possibly the hardest thing small will have had to deal with in all 8 exhausting years. But, at the same time, cannot understand how it can take so long to brush teeth when half have fallen out and how random shoe always seems to vanish in now, back to being cluttered, hallway. Sigh.
Drive small to school and dash home to try and make pigs ear of face into a silk purse. Face decides it’s not having it and try to remind self that there’s more to life than cheek bones and eyelashes, remember waterproof mascara.
Having almost reached cartoon character levels of wearing same jeans every day it’s very weird to wriggle into dress, black dress. Thank dead person for causing enough stress and upset for stomach to be flat enough to be able to wear said dress. Check time and realise morning has flown by so dash off to collect small. School receptionist comments on my leopard print DM’s which look odd with dress the be fair but are what small want’s me to wear as she has matching pair and used to be her “thing” with Daddy who always bought her a pair each autumn. Leopard print obsession passed genetically from me to her I think along with love of all things furry.
Get home, she changes without so much as a single grumble and tells me I look nice and not “too old” today, better for putting makeup on, can’t have gone as badly as thought then. Smile sweetly, sob inwardly and retreat to kitchen, feel a small wine is required and sun is over yard arm. Surprised have managed to wait this long and think perhaps should have accepted offer of lift.
Five minutes to one o’clock. Find nice black cape thing and mentally rename it “super cape” as I’m going to need some serious bloody super powers to get through what lies ahead. Pull on black leather gloves with flair, like I’m about to strangle someone, am sure will be countless there I’d like to especially the mental father of the deceased. It all flashes before eyes, a vision of mostly being a montage of avoiding people.
Several cars in church car park including dreaded hearse. Small burst’s into tears at idea of Daddy in a box, point out to her that it’s a nice box and not the cardboard version that got discussed, offer hugs and Haribo’s. She say’s she doesn’t want to be right behind, me either, so we wave others off and start long slow 15 mile trip to crematorium.
All feels very surreal, reality hit’s home. He actually is dead, not in hospital, not off for chemotherapy but dead. Feel so sad for small person, even though he never did much with her he was still her Daddy, cannot imagine life without mine. Bite lip and resolve to keep strong. We play eye spy and chat about school. See his father is not driving today, has got lift with some random Hillbilly cousin person never heard of before so breath sigh of relief for all other road users in area. Glad car is small and didn’t have to have them in mine. Sun shines, we arrive.
Thankfully parents are there so small instantly cheers up. Bladder is urging a visit so nip inside to take a few deep and well needed breaths too. There’s a fish tank, really? Remind self that I need to make dental appointment, pinch self to make sure this is not a dream.
Now for first moment of inappropriate hilarity provided by head Hillbilly. Several “mates” and family members want to carry coffin, HH (head Hillbilly as I will now refer to the father) issues HIGH VISIBILITY VESTS. I know that the “family business” was earthmoving and the deceased used to wear one most of the time but as a pall bearer, in bright day glo orange with reflective stripes? Really. Sigh and roll eyes. Thankfully HH has purchased brand new versions so not oil stained and greasy. All men look strong so hope coffin makes it in and nobody drops it as by now nothing would now surprise.
Take seat and tuck small person under arm to hug. Have tried to explain that funerals are supposed to be a “celebration” of a persons life, what guff, I cry at ones on TV of people that are fictional so now tell small that it’s okay to cry as it will be sad but there’s nice sandwiches afterwards. Because a nice sandwich will solve everything, not. Mention cake too, this is pointless as well.
Lovely registrar lady gives a wink and nod and mouths “ok?”, wink back and feel eye’s watering already, darn, thank god I used waterproof mascara this morning. Service starts, tune out and focus on anything but. Small listens intently and tiny tears roll, hug her tightly and whisper joke in ear.
At planning of service we all agreed that not up to doing reading or anything so muchly surprised when HH get’s up. Feel eye’s crossing in dread, good move though as pushes tears to sensible area to wipe. Zone out again and let HH drone on, remind self that HH has to always feel very self important and that today is more about him than his son as that’s how HH leads life at best of times. HH does what HH want’s regardless of any other human being, plant matter or vegetable, which is the sort of state I’m now in. Cuddle small person some more.
“And now for a special song” – What? What song? There was no other song agreed. Everyone sat stunned as “If I had a bulldozer” by Heywood Banks was played. Look round and see others staring as if to say “what the actual ****”. Heywood Banks also has a song called Trauma to the Groin, wish I’d known it at the time as thinking would be quite apt to meter out. Song fit’s in with service about as comfortably as square pegs and round holes. Look at HH, he looks smug and self content, think of merchant bankers and fume.
Thankfully rest of service passes quickly and it’s finally time to leave, “Always look on the bright side of life” starts to play, still having vision’s of groin trauma to HH and wishing I’d smuggled some brandy in but he lets me and small leave first and, as we do, we both do one of those little side kicks in our leopard boots, start to whistle quietly and I hold her hand just that tiny bit tighter.
We’re officially team us now, just me and my girl. “I got you babe” play’s in my head and I know we’ll be okay.