So, Carl's dad came over with an octogenarian gang of old ladies, to discuss Carl's visitation. We had agreed that Carl wanted to be cremated -- at least we didn't nee the MIA will to know this, as Carl had mentioned it a few times -- but apparently there was ALSO to be a visitation. Which, to me, makes little sense. But whatever, he paid for the thing so ...
It became clear that none of these old ladies had a clue about Carl. "Does he have a Bible?" "What kind of church music did he like?" Really?? Carl??? They even mentioned that he was a congregant at the "Church of Christ in Peoria." I'm sorry??? There's no need to make crap up.
Thank God Carl's friend Johnny was there to back up what I was saying. It was just awkward to feel like I was being steamrolled by these people the entire time. Amusingly enough, when the conversation veered towards the confirmation that, yes, we WERE a couple, one of the octogenarian cast members of West Side Story would then speak VERY LOUDLY in a desperate attempt to change the subject.
I got to the funeral home on Wednesday, and got about fifteen feet into the door, saw Carl in a casket, and my legs just gave way. Any time I looked in that direction, I couldn't stop bawling. This was the confirmation, that he is really gone. Because he was right there. At one point I grabbed his arm, and was horrified to feel an odd unnatural solidification. I know how Carl feels, and this was not it. It's hard for me to explain, really, but it was unsettling.
Later, we were dragged back to an office to talk to a pastor, who asked us to talk about Carl. Again, it was Carl's dad, the same octogenarians, and myself. And no one could say anything about Carl. Again. Nothing. I was appalled to see that the same people who were putting together this service. So I spoke about Carl in detail, and each little tidbit got followed with a "he did??" or an "I didn't know that." At one point I mentioned that a friend was going to Milan and wanted us to see him next year at the World Expo. "Of course," I said, "I have no idea how we could have done that, but he wanted to do it."
Carl's dad finally spoke up. "Yeah, he would have bugged ME for the money."
Really? THAT is the two yen you're going to add to this conversation?? Wow, helpful. Seriously.
So the pastor started to speak as the (many!!) people gathered. Did I mention he sounded like Jason Stackhouse from True Blood? He seriously said "that's jacked up" at least three times during the Mad Lib in front of him that he called a sermon. We knew things didn't bode well when he pointed to the 11 year old girl facing us and said, "This is my daughter Maya. She's excited to be here." Insert girl sighing, rolling her eyes, and texting here.
Pastor Stackhouse fucked up every detail I told him. Every one. He even, at one point, read the obituary word for word. Yes, even the "special friend" part. Instead of getting the catharsis I so desired, I became furious, digging my nails into the Kleenex box on my lap. After that, he just took off. Seriously, it was almost insulting.
As I wept at the realisation that this was the last time I would ever see the man I was with for nearly twelve years, surrounded by people who had driven miles to be there to say their last respects to Carl, I heard Carl's dad yell, "YOU'RE COMING TO MY HOUSE!" before he stomped out. Carl's niece followed, saying, "We have nibbles!"
... nibbles? Apparently "nibbles" means "stale Wheat Thins, cheese, and a bit of deli ham."
While there, one of the old ladies remarked, "Wasn't that the best pastor? He spoke the Gospel but wasn't pushy about it!"
I had to cram a bunch of "nibbles" in my mouth, lest I go off on her.