Advance apologies offered, as this is written my style (i.e., rambling & otherwise very looongish).
The Tragedy: Once Upon a Time when I was 17 years old, my Poppa died a Very Wrongful Death.
The Long Story Goes Something Like This: I had been living independently for nearly two years by then, which might explain some things. Though underage, I had older friends and neighbors who accommodated my desire for having refreshing alcoholic beverages on hand. Bless them forever, three neighbors were musicians and also granted my wish to sing, quite poorly, to their music.
Denis & Sarah had been kind enough to invite folks over for a BYOBI (bring your own beverage & instrument) music jam, and I may or may not have brought an excess of beverage with me. I reached the point of giggling so hard that I couldn't stand up or sing properly. I couldn't remember half the words to Muddy Waters's "Got My Mojo Working," so I just made crap up in between guffaws as they played.
After I was right-properly sauced beyond redemption, Denis made sure I got a ride home, as I was supposed to work the next day. Like a complete dork, I tried bumbling about in my apartment in search of atmosphere & foodstuffs, but only succeeded in smoking out my oven & lighting a newspaper on fire. Luckily I kept a goldfish nearby, as the water came in handy (the fish survived). I got smart and crashed out, after that.
A mere 4 hours after this, the buzzer to my apartment was making enough noise to raise a drunk. In utter confusion, I let up a couple of relatives that I hadn't seen or spoken to in a very long while. Blearily, I asked them what was up. Without preamble they announced (in unison) that my father was dead, and that I needed to come with them "for a while." These particular relatives lived in the middle of nowhere, & I didn't drive. I was all business in under a minute, woozy as I was. Where was Nicholas (my younger brother)? Did he know? Where was Mum? I needed to call work. I needed to get my laundry together (yes, I really tossed all of my stuff into a garbage bag & brought it with). Who was going to feed the fish? Shit, had I killed the fish (peered into nearly empty fishbowl)? Nope, still alive. Snap, snap, snap. Amazing, what you can get done under pressure...
~~ The details of his death are a rather sordid affair, and good for another story... suffice it to say that he was murdered while sleeping, and while with Another Woman (she wasn't touched).
My family left it largely to me to make necessary arrangements, though they were more than happy to make asinine comments about how it seemed like I wasn't doing "what he would have wanted." Hmmm. No wake, no funeral, a cremation, and please scatter me to the fields, thanks. Seemed pretty straightforward to me.
The Comedy: In the end (and against my better judgement), there was:
1. A wake. Uneventful, except for that small part about everyone whispering about how they couldn't believe it was an open casket funeral, but that he looked very good.
2. A funeral. Where my family physically barred the woman Poppa had been sleeping with from attending services, until I marched up to them & told them to back off or I would see them in Hell, where they belonged. I also recited my very bizarre death-poem that I had written for Poppa to the stunned audience of attendees. My brother cheered at the end, while the priest looked on in flabbergasted shock. Oh, come now, a little poem about the Prince of Death wearing shiny green slippers & a curly dark mustache couldn't possibly be that bad. Oh, wait..
3. A cremation. Mission accomplished! Except for that part about where the funeral home "temporarily misplaced" the really fecking expensive marble urn that my Poppa's cremains were in, for three days...
4. Some cremains were scattered to the fields, Secondary Mission accomplished! Sort-of. It was very windy, and the cremains blew back into my face all three times. Nicholas, for reasons known only to himself, was quietly singing "Got My Mojo Working," (it was one of our favorite songs) and started laughing so hard after my third try that he farted uncontrollably, for what seemed to be forever. I don't honestly know how the other family members kept a straight face. The priest told him to control his bodily functions (!), and of course I laughed so hard that I had to go pee-- in the bushes, with everyone hurriedly looking away.
5. Ooops. The urn ended up being buried, by mistake, in a plot in a Roman Catholic cemetery that Poppa hated. A pink granite headstone graces the plot-- you can see it from the highway that runs through the town. Poppa hated pink, had renounced religion, and he didn't want a headstone.
1. We didn't get the official death decree/certificates for some time after Poppa had died (something about it being delivered to the deceased person's address-- congrats, you're dead, and we're confirming it). It would have been really, really nice to know that he had been shot to death-- in the face, seven times, before someone had the cajones to request an open casket funeral.
2. When Nicholas & I reviewed the "Cause of Death" portion on Poppa's death certificate, my jaw dropped when I saw that it read "Lead Poisoning." A tribute to my brother's twisty & outrageous sense of humor, even at the worst of times, without missing a beat he remarked: "That might be an understatement."
True Story. The End.