Yesterday afternoon I shrieked into the phone at my brother, aka the Prince of Darkness that he was morphing into our father, Amenhotep. This was because he was (understandably) complaining that he felt like he was all on his own waiting for our father to die and he had so much responsibility but at the same time he refused to take on board any well meant advice, sympathy or kindness. “Just call me when he’s dead!” I yelled before I hung up on him.
Of course I felt terrible for the rest of the day and most of the night. When I finally fell asleep, I slept well and dreamt of snow falling, but the snow changed into baby’s breath blossoms and smelled wonderful. When I awoke I knew that the pharaoh had passed into the realm of Anubis. I planned to call the Prince of Darkness to apologize for yelling at him but it was far too early to phone anyone, so I went to the gym instead and decided to phone him when I returned.
When I returned to the house, nobody could tell me where Vince’s cell phone was located. I was more than a little relieved. The incident yesterday was so ugly, I could imagine the Prince of Darkness refusing to speak to me, so I emailed my cousin C.
The Prince of Darkness and I had a bit of a dustup yesterday and he might not be speaking to me. Would you let me know when my father dies?
C. is a tough union business agent. He’s used to diplomacy and negotiation. Moreover, he’s discreet, so he’s the go-to cousin for this kind of thing.
Vince returned from the links around lunchtime. We found his phone and it appeared the Prince of Darkness had been trying to get in touch with me all morning. I phoned him back immediately. He confirmed what I knew from my dream. I asked when is the funeral.
“Are you coming?”
“Yes, I’m coming. We aren’t sure if the boys and FOTI are coming too, but we’ll hash that out over lunch.”
“But the boys didn’t have much of a relationship with Dad.”
“We’d considered that this might happen while we’re on vacation. The boys even have suits with them. They want to be there for me, and I want to be there for you. This is what happens in a functional family, get used to it.”
“I’ve got a bunch of stuff to organize.”
“Yeah, I know. I’ll call you back tonight and we can firm up plans.”
So we had a powwow over lunch at Crispers and decided that everybody was going north and it was going to be a road trip. Next stop was the bookstore to get a good Rand McNally road map then the question of shoes arose.
They’d all brought suits, none of them brought black shoes. So it was off on a shoe safari for 3 pair of black shoes size 11 ½ EEE. The boys were easy enough to shoe. They could get away with shoes slightly on the sporty side. Vince was offered the Herman Munster collection. I suggested he get a fancy pedi and wear sandals with his suit, but he ixnayed that idea and figured he’d find something suitable between now and Monday.
There are all kinds of funerals. This one, I am sure will be marked by a sense of release. For my father, release from his physical aches and pains and the heartpain he’s been carrying since my mother died in 2005. For my brother, release from obligations he shouldn’t have been made to carry and a chance of a life of his own. For me, release from the guilt I’ve felt all my life about not being the daughter my father wanted.
I’m looking forward to seeing my cousins, friends and family, Big Rita, Big Andy and their crew. The boys are looking forward to meeting cousins who look like them, but smaller and being able to talk to the mysterious Prince of Darkness in person. Vince is up for the big ride. He likes a nice long road trip.
Tomorrow we have a much looked forward to lunch date with the charming Toritto in Tampa. Life is for the living.
This following clip is the signature song of the incomparable Ramses Shaffy. He was a chanteur extraordinare, a difficult and complex person. He reminded me a lot of my father. The lyrics say: Let me be, just let me be, this is the way I’ve always done things…This version has Ramses (who died shortly afterward) supported by his longtime singing partner, Liesbeth List and the band, Alderliefste.