Skipping back 5 months or so, not doing times and dates other than the 13th still being pretty unlucky for some. Not a superstitious person, even if it fall’s on a Friday. Will happily walk under a ladder, mainly because I’m a stubborn sort of person and really what else crap could happen that hasn’t already?
After several weeks and, what seemed like an eternity, it was all arranged. It took a long time because, firstly the body did a vanishing act as you know and secondly the local crematorium was shut for repairs or something so we had to ship off miles away. Only about 15 but his Dad became obsessed with the “route”. He must have plugged in that blessed sat nav and must have driven there and back about 30 times on 30 different “ways” of getting there, calling me after each trip to explain that a certain lane might not be the best or the tree on the A something or other road wasn’t very nice. Sigh. Keep explaining that the funeral directors do actually know where they are taking the now found body which is still thankfully in a fridge somewhere and hasn’t wandered off in frustration and please can he stop wasting fuel and time. Every trip he took, and rang me, thankfully was usually at the end of a day so the fridge was opened and the wine was poured whilst I heard about certain roundabouts being easier and we really shouldn’t go on a dual carriage way. Spend much time staring out of window and counting leaves on tree’s to pass time……he drones on.
Stand in kitchen, take a glug and wonder if his clutch will be up to any roundabout let alone him on a dual carriage way. They way he drives we might have to bung him in the furnace too.
The funeral directors are, by this point, close to closing up shop and running for the hills. Every single meeting to arrange things I make on time and then have to wait another 20 minutes for them to arrive. I’m not sure what they’ve been up to as they arrive looking like they’ve just had a serious bed romping session with hair all over the place, remind self that they live in a tip and are not the most groomed hygienic people I’ve met so it’s just their natural “Hillbilly” look. Much more pleasant than imagining the other. Eye’s start to water, am not sure if I’m about to cry with laughter, grief or frustration. Funeral directors really should offer a G with their tea as I sure could do with one.
I now make my own way as getting in that car again scares me to death. Discussions over which casket, which order of service, which picture take over 3 hours. Mouth is by now almost dried up and legs are cramping. As usual they seem more concerned about cost so point out that he really wouldn’t mind the cardboard jobbie although he did always want a log burner so it would be a final tick on his bucket list if they could push the boat out just a bit.
Amazingly patient registrar, lot’s of eye rolling from me and biting of lip from her. Final draft comes through with LARGE HEADING explaining that it’s got spelling errors etc in as it’s come directly via her audio thingumajig but she will get that amended for the service. So what does he do………..yes, spends the next entire day “amending” and then having the cheek to add bits. Fume big time at this point as I’m getting close to combustion. Pour wine and decide to stick size 5 in, tell him I want Monty Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life” to be the song playing us out seeing as he overruled the Genesis track that actually meant something to the poor dead thing that’s still in a cabinet in the morgue and probably getting rather impatient. Almost faint when he agrees.
About 2 weeks now until the actual day so he’s busy”disorganising a wake”. Suggest several venues, all of which are shot down in flames. Seems that although the cost of the funeral is important, the putting on a “look at us show” is a bottomless pit. He finds flashy golf club place which is actually on the route between ours and the crematorium so decide to just go with the flow as really past caring at this point and liver needs a break. Politely decline offers to go with him as have been there several times and know it well. He goes nearly every day, counts car parking spaces, “test’s” various beers and wines on offer (dammit I should have gone and helped), rates bar staff, yes really and probably even checks under toilet seats for all I know. There’s attention to detail but there’s also insanity or possibly early onset dementia.
Manage not to squeal with laughter when he explains buffet costs. Deluded idea that possibly 500 people may come. Fridge man had lot’s of mates but not quite that many and even the related Hillbilly’s wouldn’t make up those sort of numbers. Suggest cater for 150 and if not enough then tough as they will have food at home should they be hungry. Number tennis goes on for several days, refuse to compile list as have no idea what the grapevine has jangled. Start to ignore phone and pretend to have very busy life.
Just when I think it’s all over, it’s not yet. The funeral procession. FGS.
Phone rings, see that it’s “him”, again. Sigh and retreat to kitchen. Spend a lot of time in kitchen, mainly because it’s out of earshot of small person and also because there’s wine and crisps and even tinned goods if kept on phone for so long that supplies run out, an actual concern nowadays.
Answer call, throw bag of crisps into living room to sustain small for a while and roll eyes, she grins and rolls hers back……..she’s got him sussed.
He explains that he’d like the procession to start at their house then pass where his son was born and stop for a few minutes. Wonder out loud why, as it’s not as if he’ll know or be able to look out. This doesn’t go down very well. Open fridge, look at wine, bite lip and try to listen. From there it will proceed 15 miles to where me and small person live to drive past. Bite lip harder and resist the urge to point out that the poor sod was probably sick to death of the view from ours having spent nearly two years sitting in a chair in the window. From ours it will then proceed a further 15 miles to the crematorium.
Church opposite chimes 6pm, wine o’clock, hurrah.
Throw large spanner in works by explaining to him that funeral processions drive at a very slow speed so to cover the amount of miles and stop’s required by his amazing plan would also require several hours and that I refuse to drive small person behind a hearse for longer than 30 minutes. He begs to differ, have visions of the hearse taking a short cut and hacking down the fast lane of the motorway with the coffin sliding from side to side as they change lanes to catch up with time, get giggles, sip wine and compose self.
Thankfully, funeral directors are on my side, they point out that it really isn’t feasible, phew. No funeral car has been arranged, don’t want one for me and small, would upset her too much. Also, after current experiences of other drivers, feel far safer in own car. It’s arranged that we will all meet in the car park of the church opposite at 1pm on the day. All planned and we all know what we’re doing and what is going to happen……….
Yeah, because it’s all gone so smoothly so far eh?! Wine anyone?