I just made it home from my nephew Sean's funeral. It went pretty well, considering it was my ex's side of the family who don't do funerals very well. It was a weird kind of deja vue, arriving at the funeral home for the service, because the place is so damn familiar. We have all been there together for many, many services over the past 20 years or so. One of the last ones was six years ago, today, for Andrew.
That fact made today especially hard on me, my girls, Bill, and anyone else who realized it. It was an ironic twist that landed Sean's funeral date on this day. My nephew Russell, who was left to plan everything, realized it after he had finalized all the arrangements, but there wasn't really anything he could do about it.
Bill said to me after the service, "It's just a thought. Let is go." I had, I thought, but it wasn't gone. It was just ironic.
There were lots of little ironies in this day. A little boy and his young mother were sitting in the same pew as we chose. The little boy looked at us and said, "Hi! I'm Kameron." Kameron, Sean's son Kameron? Oh yeah. Fine place to finally meet him. I lost it then. I was sitting there, feeding a bottle to my own little grandson, and thinking how this little boy would never really know much about his daddy. He might learn, someday, that his daddy was addicted to heroin and died by a drug overdose. I hope that doesn't define his daddy for him, because Sean was a sweet and fun boy. He just had a lot of pain to try to mask.
I was sitting in the pew behind my ex, on opposite ends. It wasn't intentional. We could have sat together and been just fine. My ex-sister-in-law who had been married to Bill's brother Don was sitting in the pew behind Don, too, on opposite ends. I wonder if that was planned or accidental? Anyway, we were all here, together, so to speak, for Sean. For the two remaining brothers, Russell and Cody. Just like old times, only completely different. No one would be hanging out at my house, drinking beer and barbecuing.
I saw a lot of ex-relatives that I hadn't seen since the last funeral. We decided we all had to stop meeting like this. Maybe the new generation of kids will start planning an annual barbecue so they can get together on happier circumstances.
The service was actually pleasant, especially when compared to Sean's father Gary's funeral, or his mother Rollynn's. Both were so unbearable it was awful, because the priest that was sent over to do the service was a nut case. Russell was going to have the same one do this service, but he wasn't available. I guess he didn't remember how insane it was. At least this person kept things in a good perspective.
I saw my niece from my side of the family there, along with her cousin who had once dated Sean. There were several of Sean's former girlfriends at the service. Anyway, small town. Everyone is related by one degree or another.
My oldest daughter was hoping to escape right after the service without having to deal with anyone. It was really a hard day for her. But it didn't quite work out that way. We visited with family and friends on the way out, and in the parking lot. Then my youngest daughter and her husband whom I had ridden with took me to my car and I headed home. I thought of Sean's little sons and started crying again.
As I got to the top of the grade, I thought about the photos my son had taken from the top, up the fire road. I wondered if I could drive up there? I pulled over and turned up the road. After a few feet, I could see the road was rutted with deep crevices that my car could negiotiate. I couldn't turn around, so I had to back down the hill. I turned to maybe go down the fire road heading south, but then I saw a "youth" in that roadway and decided not to drive by him. He just didn't look like a real good citizen. Foiled, I turned around again and got back on the highway.
Well, damn it! If I couldn't walk in Andrew's shoes today, I would at least cook a good piece of tri-tip for dinner and have a beer at home. Andrew would have like that.