Meanderings from a viewing and a memorial service

For today’s Meandering Monday, I go back to the events of the previous weekend where I attended a viewing and a funeral in North Carolina for my aunt Joan.

Out of the two, the viewing provided the most blog fodder, not that I was looking for it…

…okay, I was, but shhh, don’t tell my family who would think me a cruel bastard (which, of course, y’all know that I’m not, well, not most of the time anyway).

At the viewing, it was my father and my cousin Aaron who provided the scripts:

My father introducing me to a cousin:

So this is Bryan. He got fired from a newspaper a few years ago…

Me:

Thanks a lot, Dad.

Then later my father began to tell the same cousin a story about how one time when we were traveling back from North Carolina, with a detour through the City of Brotherly Love, but not necessarily brotherly bathrooms as he couldn’t find a place to stop to go.

As a result, my dad said of having to wait so long, it ended up causing him prostate problems for the rest of his life.

The moral to the story: If you gotta go, go. Don’t hold it too long. Otherwise, you could end up with prostate problems…FOREVER.

In my father’s defense, we just had traveled 14 hours to get to North Carolina and were tired, so I think that was his excuse.

I’d like to say my cousin Aaron’s excuse for the things he said were that his mother had just died, but I don’t think that’d be quite accurate. As much as I love my cousin, he’s a bonehead, and that’s putting it mildly.

So what did he say?

Two ladies came up to Aaron at the viewing and told him how they loved not only his mother and father’s singing, but also his sister’s singing. They then asked him if he sang too.

His answer:

I’d say my voice is more like Scott Stapp’s or maybe (Ronnie) James Dio’s or Chad Kroeger’s of Nickelback.

Blank stares.

At the time, I couldn’t help but step outside the room and laugh. However, now that I look back on that, I attribute that to the same tiredness that my father had, because in hindsight, I realized my cousin was being a douchebag, pure and simple.

At the funeral the next day, which was mostly understandably a somber affair, one of the two ministers who provided the sermons also provided the one funny moment in the service.

Joan had gone through many storms in her life.

Then she met Mike [my uncle]…

No beat came between those two thoughts. It was like he was the next storm, which if anyone who has met my uncle no doubt would agree — even though, in all seriousness, he wasn’t always a storm to her: everyone else, yes, her, no.

I couldn’t help but remark to a cousin sitting next to me on the verbal trip by the minister, with my uncle Mike’s sister, I later realized, sitting behind us.

I wondered if I might have offended her, but now that I think about it, as his sister, she probably knows too well the storm he was, and still is.

Just because someone’s spouse dies doesn’t change that someone, as we found out later that day when he told my parents that a surviving aunt who was living with him and my aunt Joan had to leave with my parents when they left because he couldn’t stand living with her.

While everyone in our immediate family knew that my surviving aunt and Mike would not be able to live together alone, because of past “personality conflicts,” we didn’t think he’d be so insensitive as to say something the day of his wife’s funeral. Yet he did.

Maybe I‘m not such a cruel bastard after all.

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