(insert a photo that was not taken)
My father’s service went, as these things go, very well. I spent the night prior staying up til 4 am printing out photos for a collage. Less a collage and more of a gridded poster.
Rising with fright that I was late, I found a jacket and tie in my closet, by sheer luck.
The weather was wonderful. Like God wanted something to shine upon us.
Tears came and went. Never for too long as there were steady arms around the shoulder or laughter spilling over from a memory.
Family and friends filed through and my reservations about an open casket fell quiet as I saw his body look so well and peaceful.
I stayed outside as the tie around my neck, coupled with the confines of the funeral home got me hot under the collar.
As folks from the ol office showed up, I felt blessed to have such wonderful friends.
The service itself was a series of moments. Raw emotions.
It started with the Masons, though well intentioned, their rote memorization of words delivered without inflection, made me think of a poem in monotone. Their message was unspoken. It was of the brotherhood of men and secret camaraderie.
My sister wrote a poem, and she was suddenly not my older sister. She was daddy’s little girl. And it was so sad, and honest, and beautiful. She slipped my father’s pocketknife into my hand as we hugged after she finished. This, the knife my father gave to me. The one that was just like his. The one I gave back to him when his failed to maintain an edge.
This, the only thing I wanted back.
I held on to it while listening to my brother deliver his heartfelt words with intensity. He lit a cigarette in front of everyone, and vowed to learn the lesson my father taught in passing. And he better quit. There’s too many witnesses.
He was my father’s son. I don’t think my dad loved any of us more than the other, it was equal. But he gave himself to whoever needed it. The bond between Tom and Dad was the greatest.
I didn’t speak, but as I listened to my cousin preside, I realized that it was okay. My dad was a quiet man. Known for his vocation. His generosity. And I realized too, that I am my father’s son.
Everyone looked so handsome I thought. I felt like I was reintroduced to a part of the family that was sad for too long.