I've been sort of elected to write my dad's elegy. See, he wanted his funeral at the family church - which is fine, and the folks at the church have been lovely about it - but they got a new minister about a year ago. While the new guy had been out to visit my dad a couple times (and I really respect him for that), well, Dad's been in really bad shape for the last four or five years and so the new guy really had no sense of who Dad was, whatsoever. The minister was very kind about the service and is going to run it and do scripture and all that. But how could he really say the right things about someone he never knew?
So I said I'd do it.
My brother was relieved, because he had been thinking much the same thing, and he considers me a "really good writer" and hoped I would do the job.
Which leaves me here, trying to write this thing for tomorrow's funeral. I thought it would be difficult, but instead, it's been a way for me to sort of make peace with this whole thing. My usual method of writing something important is to brood for a day or two, jotting down ideas and points I want to be sure to include. Then I arrange all those notes into a coherent order and write up whatever I'm working on. Yesterday was spent thinking about Dad, memories of him, and the way he was, and the things he said.
I'm going to share, here, the stuff that's totally inappropriate for a funeral in a church.
-In my early teens, there was some outfit of the season that I desperately wanted, and my mother wouldn't let me have one, because she thought it was too racy. The whole family was out somewhere, and a women went prancing past wearing the outfit that I so desperately wanted. My mother told Dad "Julie wants one of those." Dad looked thoughtful for a minute, then said "Julie would sure look better in it."
-After I was married, he once brought up the subject of sex and me, before I was married. I asked him "Dad, are you SURE you want to have this discussion?" He nodded and said "You're right. I lost my head a minute. Forget I said anything."
-One night at about three AM we bumped into each other in the dark, both headed for the bathroom. I screamed. He started laughing hysterically. Mom got up and yelled at both of us.
-He loved watching Benny Hill. For Christmas one year I got him the complete Benny Hill box set.
Back to the elegy. I'm really not sure how much god stuff I'm supposed to put in this thing. I'm tempted to leave it all out and let the minister deal with that.