Tuesday and Wednesday (May 24, 25) were days of catching up and nailing down. After the ‘go go go’ of getting the funeral planned, I actually had some time to do some normal things that were outstanding and bugging me, like retrieving the mattress cover from the laundromat, and going to Astoria to pick up my bike from the Bike Stop, where they’d repaired the damage from my accident a year ago, when I broke my collarbone. I also was able to move back into the master bedroom and bathroom, the start of the prep for making the house ready for guests.
The earliest I thought we could do the funeral was Friday, and I knew we had a window of about week after that where it was possible, but I wanted that Friday if we could, no one objected, and it turned out that’s what we got. We decided to do a viewing the afternoon/evening before, and of course there would be a private viewing right before the funeral. I immediately spread the word around and people started booking their travel.
Bill the funeral guy sent me a list of Old and New Testament readings to pick one of each. I put them on my Kindle, sat down in the recliner and started to read. The first few Old Testament ones not only didn’t resonate, some of them didn’t even make sense. And then I started to read this one:
reading from the Book of Wisdom 3:1-6, 9
The souls of the just are in the hand of God
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if in the eyes of men, indeed they be punished,
yet is their hope full of immortality;
Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
because God tried them,
and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them,
and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
and his care is with his elect.
The word of the Lord.
And immediately burst into tears. So, yeah, that one.
New Testament reading took a little more thought and decision making, but I chose
A reading from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 4:14–5:1
Brothers and sisters:
Knowing that the One who raised the Lord Jesus
will raise us also with Jesus
and place us with you in his presence.
Everything indeed is for you,
so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people
may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.
Therefore, we are not discouraged;
rather, although our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction
is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;
for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.
For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent,
should be destroyed,
we have a building from God,
a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.
The word of the Lord.
I had to choose the readers too. I have some friends who are actors with excellent elocution, so I had some names in mind, but I put it out to the Keisers and close friends for first refusal. Charles’s brother Rich said he’d do one, so I gave him the Old Testament reading and asked my dear friend Susanna to do the other one.
Once I’d stripped the guest bed, I finally had a chance to pull out my own outfits and see what I was going to wear to the viewing and the funeral. To my shock, but not really my surprise, the two interview suits I’d bought three years ago were now a little… snug… as were my dress shirts. Fuck. So I made a late afternoon emergency trip into the city to DXL to get a fat suit. Or, you know, a suit for a fat person. Luckily they had an off-the-rack charcoal suit that worked just fine, if not fabulously, without any alternations necessary. (I could have begged my dry cleaner for an emergency hem, but the pants ended up fine with the dress shoes, which, luckily I’d just had shined after the last orchestra concert.) Bought two new white shirts (oh, that’s my neck size now, that’s nice…) and a belt. Had not planned that expense, but it’s my own damn fault and I’m going to lump it in with the rest of the funeral expenses anyway.
I don’t remember much about Wednesday, except it was about moving crap we normally dump in the guest room and maid’s room into the office so Dad and Sam each had a room to stay in. Susan came over, and finally Tessa did too. Tessa is Charles’s other best friend and she’d been travelling when she got the news. She was devastated that she couldn’t be there earlier, but I was happy for her company now. I had Susan and Tessa make the guest bed up, hadn’t gotten around to it, and had them help me pick ties and tie clips to go with the suit. And then I took them out for Mexican food, and margaritas were had, which was lovely.
I’ll add more detail later if it occurs to me, those two days are kinda blurry.