In past blogs I have written about the family drama surrounding my father and his wife. A week ago Wednesday my dad called to let me know his wife, Judy had passed away. I gave him my condolences and asked about when the funeral might be. Since it was so new, he honestly didn't know. On the phone he sounded so down but he kept his cool and there were no tears.
For many people on the outside attending Judy's funeral would be black and white. You go, you help your dad, you smile at the well wishers. End of story. As a person who has taken drawing classes over the years I can answer you truthfully and tell you there are many, many shades to go through from white to black. I know, I had to fill an entire page with them once.
In truth, I had ever intention of attending Judy's funeral. I knew what it would be like too. I would be there to help my father and receive cold stares from Judy's daughters. I was even prepared to call the police if one of them in particular went postal on me. I was ready for this, bring it on I thought. I even found the clean up of the house a bit daunting because I knew how messy and cluttered it would be.
No phone calls came from my father. So, I assumed there wasn't a funeral planned yet.
This morning after sending my oldest off on the school bus and dropping my second child off for his half day of preschool, I picked up the phone and called my father. Judy's eldest daughter answered the phone very politely. When she said who she was, I quickly thanked my lucky stars and told her how sorry I was for her loss. Out of all the children Judy had this one is the most sane and level headed (although I am pretty sure she too hates me).
When my father came on the phone, I asked him how he was doing and other pleasantries. He promptly told me that they had Judy's funeral the day before. In my mind I was like wait? What? Did he just say the funeral was yesterday? I asked how it was , as my mind raced around. All her children had come, the second oldest daughter had of course had not one but several hissy fits. Even the ambulance guys came because they had gotten to know Judy with her frequent trips to the hospital. One even played the bagpipes! Judy was buried in the cemetery over in Lewiston Idaho with the rest of my dad's family.
It would seem getting her buried in the family plot was a bit of a hassle. Turns out my dad's aunt (Fran) and uncle (Dick) who were buried there each had a separate plot even though they were both cremated. My dad had to ask them to dig up his uncle and bury him with his wife so that Judy, who was not cremated could be buried in one plot. My father when he dies, will then be buried in the plot next to her.
The remaining two daughters were going to be leaving my dad today (the third just had to go on vacation!). They had helped him clean up the house and stocked his freezer with meals. I told my father to thank them for me. I thought it was very thoughtful of them to help him out.
As I ended the call with him, he made sure to ask me to visit a couple of times. And of course call him in a week to see how he was doing. He promised to keep taking the anti-depressants he had been prescribed. He isn't going to make any major decisions yet about the house or what he'll do next. Her daughters didn't even get rid of any of her clothes yet (although he did encourage them too). I hope he'll sell the house and downgrade himself to a nice apartment that is closer to me.
Right now he's in a 4 bedroom house that sits on about half an acre of property. That's too much house and land for a single man in his 70's. We'll see what he decides.
And so, even in her death Judy managed to perpetuate family drama. I am just glad she is out of all the pain she was in. Let's hope my father can now remember what it means to be alive.