On Tuesday, November 1st, the day of my father’s funeral, I woke up from a dream that I couldn’t remember, feeling a little sick and a lot shaky. I was to give the eulogy, and once awake, preparing for the hard day ahead, my fear that I’d say the wrong thing or I’d break down kicked in.
From Paw Prints to Lollipops
But in amongst the sadness and fighting feelings of loss, there were these little occurrences that added a lighthearted touch to an otherwise awful day, making me smile and giving me strength.
The day before the funeral, the last errand on our to-do list was a car wash. When we head out to the car to drive to the church, Riley, one of my sister’s two cats, has left his paw prints all over the hood. She was not impressed; I wanted to take a picture of Riley’s handiwork.
After the service was over and I was on my way to the limo that is taking us to the internment, I spot the sisters, Mrs. W and Mrs. M. They shared my dad’s table in the dining room of the seniors’ residence where he lived, and when I stayed there, I took his place for meals. They made me feel welcomed and I got to know them well. Before leaving the church vestibule, I stop to say hello and to thank them for coming. The first time I go join my family in the limo, Mrs. M asks me a question, which I answer. The second time I try to leave, the same thing happens; Mrs. M asks another question. It’s almost as though she doesn’t want me to go. Two more questions later, I tell her firmly but gently, “I have to catch a limo.” She responds to my dilemma with, “Here’s some Halloween candy.” I climb into the limousine holding three lollipops; two blue and one purple.
The blue sky and sunny day really help bolster me at the graveside service. I need it – the minister’s words “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” accompanied by the sprinkling of earth on the casket, punch me in the gut with the impact of a physical blow. After we’ve placed our individual flowers, people begin to walk away, leaving us alone for a final goodbye. The minister walks around to where I’m standing just as a flock of geese in V-formation, pass over dad’s grave. Knowing my father’s involvement with the RAF and the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserves and his love of planes in general, the minister looks up and exclaims, “Oh a fly-by!”
Life is Like That
At the reception, people told me how lovely the funeral was. At first I thought it was an odd choice of words, until it hit me – it was a lovely funeral. And I am certain that my dad would have definitely appreciated the touches of humour, especially the minister’s well-timed geese fly-by comment.