On January 22, 2022, my Dad died. My theme, “Letters to my Dad” is based on random thoughts about him and the aftermath of not having him around anymore.
As the self-appointed “gatekeeper” of the family (or as you always called me, “Miss Fix-It”), I ended up planning your funeral.
You and I both know how good I am at being organized and thinking 20 steps ahead, not because I am perfect but because it reduces my anxiety levels. But under these circumstances, I wish that I could have delegated your funeral arrangements to someone else.
I’m not sure that I would have been able to cope if we hadn’t agreed to pre-arrange your funeral with your personal involvement. Yeah, it would have been too overwhelming for me but I would have found a way to deal with it while pretending that I was fine.
It was barely a week after your diagnosis that pragmatic youngest bro suggested that you have an active role in the arrangements.
I won’t fool you. The suggestion to pre-arrange hit me harder than I thought, which was weird because I had pre-arranged my own funeral the year before and was very cut and dry about it. But then again, I wasn’t dying when I finalized my plans.
Deep down, I knew that youngest bro was right. Whatever you would want is what we would want to do for you.
But I can’t imagine how you must have felt, knowing that you were actually dying.
“Marq, you pre-arranged your own funeral last year, right? Why don’t you call the person you signed with and ask them if they are open to coming to the house?” That is what littlest bro said and when you agreed Dad, that is what I did.
So there we were. A bright and sunny Saturday morning in the month of May at 8h00 in the livingroom with all us, including oldest bro who travelled down, and the funeral home rep. Over Tim Horton’s coffees and doughnuts, we tried to make the situation as light as possible. So light in fact that I think that the funeral rep was a bit weirded out by being outnumbered and our attitude..
A viewing or no viewing? How many viewings? How much chapel time? The funeral home officiant or own our officiant? Cremation or no cremation? The type of urn? A smaller keepsake urn that could be taken to Puerto Rico to toss in the ocean you loved so much and another for Guyana to bury with your parents?
After that meeting, all that was left was for me to do was to make a follow up appointment to finalize and prepay for all that was decided that early Saturday morning in May.
I kept dragging my feet, foolishly hoping that my procrastination would keep the inevitable at bay.
And I think you knew it.
“When are you going to go pay for the funeral thing?” You said it once and only once.
It was your way of letting me know that it was time for me to get it done and relieve myself of that heaviness on my shoulders.
And so at a 6:00 pm appointment on a November night, I got it done.
But I was more worried about the corner we had turned towards the inevitable. 😦
Loving you always,