I know this is a morbid topic for Father’s Day, so I’ll put a click through link…
1. Funerals and services aren’t actually for the dead, because they’re, you know, dead. They’re for the living. But it’s a bit silly, because people say all these nice things that they really should’ve said when the dead were alive. (Note to self: say your nice things now.)
2. There really is something called a “death rattle” and it’s very, very scary to witness.
3. But you’d rather witness it than not be there.
4. Everyone handles grief in their own way. Some are touchy-feely crying messes (my younger brothers.) Some are the “well, there are details to attend to” type like my older brother. Some are the “let’s make jokes!” type, like me. Whatever gets you through the day.
5. You get to see a lot of people from your past, and that’s sort of neat. Old neighbors and people from church and the community. It’s fun. Ish. It’s just tricky if you can’t remember their names.
6. Funeral professionals are important if creepy.
7. I do not like my parent’s priest. Creepy McCreeperson. I’m sure he’s a nice dude but…
8. You’d be surprised at the friends that will show to support you.
9. Go to support your friends when their loved one dies.
10. Anticipate the “firsts.” Such as the first father’s day without my dad. (Good timing, pops!)
11. Be prepared for awkward conversations with various parties. Close family, extended family, near-strangers.
12. No one talks about all the bad stuff. Which is good. But as I listened to people talk about how awesome my dad was, I couldn’t help but think “what about six months ago, when we were all sick of him for x y and z reasons?!” Subdue the realist within. It don’t matter no mo’.
13. Live a life so that people don’t have to go back decades to find ways to praise you.
14. Some people want you to say you’re sad, even if you’re not. Some people want you to say you’re fine, even if you’re not. It’s a lot of work to figure out who wants what, so for the most part, those people can suck it.
15. When people offer help, take it. Because really, at this point, why wouldn’t you?
16. Don’t eat a pot brownie and then drive for an hour after your dad dies. (This is a whole other post.)
17. Make clear what you want at your funeral. I, myself, do not want a lot of sackcloth and ashes, rending of garments and gnashing of teeth. I want a lot of joy for a life lived well (hopefully) and songs that include drums and guitars (no Ave Maria for me, but then again, please no “Highway to Hell.”)
18. I know not everyone believes in God or Jesus or an afterlife, but in these moments of life, I’m grateful, and hopeful, because I do.