This is a post that has been three about four months in the making, but it was something I wasn’t sure:
A.) if I wanted to address publicly or
B.) how to address if I decided to address it at all.
About a two months ago, I got a pretty damn cool email from my blog pal, Snooze, and I got the beginnings of an idea about what I wanted to say, and about a month after that I broached my sister, Joy, with the idea. When she laughed at it, I figured it was completely appropriate, all parties considered.
On December 26th, my mom passed away. Don’t feel bad (unless your name is Cancer, then fuck you), death happens. Don’t call me to talk about it. Don’t email. Don’t leave a comment telling me if I need anything to let you know or offering your sympathies. All of that is certainly appreciated, but it’s been four months and it’s not how I prefer to deal with things, now, then or ever. To make this crap paragraph short, those who didn’t call or email me, but came to the remembrance (yes you Jafo, Nicki, Carrie and Staci-with-an-I) thank you, that was perfect. Those that called me, only to say “If you are looking for a shoulder, you better call someone else because I’m not going to talk about this with you,” (yes, you B) thank you, that was perfect. The surprise email of support from Canada (yes, you Snooze), thank you, that was perfect. Those that didn’t call or email with words of support and wanting to “talk about it” (all the rest of you), thank you, that was perfect. And to those who took it upon themselves to contact my friends that didn’t know so I didn’t have to (yes, you Zig), thank you, that was perfect. And if I missed anyone, I apologize, it was kind of a fucked up holiday.
This is not going to be a post remembering my mom, Nancy. She didn’t believe in that bullshit, as anyone who knew Nancy would tell you. Hell, she didn’t even want a viewing. She just wanted a cremation and that’s that. We overrode that wish a bit, and went with a remembrance for the close family and friends. So with all of the back story nonsense out of the way, I will share what happened at the remembrance. And why Joy and I should never be in the same room when it’s grownup time.
Just prior to the remembrance, my pops, Joy and I met with the preacher (or whatever) to tell him about my mom, and what he should talk about and what he shouldn’t. This didn’t take too long, as we weren’t expecting a life story here, just what my mom loved and what she left behind. One thing my sister lightly stressed was not to stray from the topics given. As cliche as it sounds, Nancy was a firecracker and had a lot of opinions. So it was important for the preacher (or whatever) to stick to the script because if you didn’t know Nancy, you were going into the deep end of the pool, not knowing how to swim.
At first, he was doing pretty good. Going on how my mom loved her cats, how she loved ebaying (GOD HOW WE HATED THAT HOBBY!), how she left a mark on everyone she met (motherfucking facts), etc.
Then Preacherman did what was certainly inevitable: He strayed from the script.
“…and Nancy always had a kind word for everyone.”
I looked at the preacher with my mouth agape. That was not true. Not true at all. My mother had a rotating “Passenger List” of people taking that plane ride into the mountain. From pilot on down to passengers. You could call her on any given day and ask who was on The Plane, and she’d happily tell you. OJ was a staple on The Plane, and he was a pilot more often than not, but sometimes he was relegated to co-pilot when someone like Scott Peterson made the news.
As if that wasn’t enough, he also mentioned that “…Nancy showered her children with love…” in about the same breath.
Look, my mom loved us, there’s no doubt about that, but we weren’t “showered” with anything. We weren’t (and still aren’t) a huggy lovey dovey meet the Cleavers family. (Note, that’s not me saying I didn’t get love, because I did and our family was a solid one, zero complaints.) But “showered with love”? Ew, gross, no.
At this point to see if she was hearing the same things I was, and very much against my better judgement screaming at me not to, I cut my eyes to Joy, who was sitting across the room. She was staring directly at me. Apparently, she was thinking the same thing. The corner of her mouth twitched.
Oh no. No. Don’t.
The twitch started to turn into a smile, and she immediately put her head in her hands. I did the same, and didn’t have to look to see if she was doing the same thing I was, because I knew she was.
We were laughing.
It felt good to laugh, and I have no doubt it was entirely appropriate because my mom would have laughed, too. I’m laughing now thinking about it.
I imagine most of the people at the remembrance figured Joy and I were sobbing at that point, but I’m fairly certain my friends knew I was giggling like a school girl. I’m damn sure at least on of them knows, because she told me she almost laughed herself.
And, oddly, this isn’t the first time I had laughed at a family member’s funeral. Things don’t need to be so damn somber anyway.