It doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t seem like he’s gone.
The house isn’t any quieter – my mom and brother and I make plenty of noise – my poor dad couldn’t get a word in edge-wise when all of us were here.
His chair is still in the den – my brother sat in it tonight. My mom sat in her regular place. I sat on the love seat between them and we watched Wimbledon.
I went grocery shopping today; there were a few items that I didn’t need to purchase, but basically, the grocery list was the same as always.
Just not as much ice cream.
We also went to the Funeral Home today – that was bizarre. Everyone speaks so softly and wears a benign (comforting?) smile on their face. They were all men – big burley men – men in grey suits. The couches in the waiting area were covered in vinyl and they served coffee with powdered creamer.
Sitting in the office of the Funeral Director talking logistics seemed to have nothing to do with my father. When you talk about “the deceased” it’s easy to forget that that person is connected to you.
Marshall, the man in the grey suit with whom we met, asked if Montclair, New Jersey was one or two words.
One. But I told him that New Jersey was two words.
I went back to the funeral home later in the day to spend time with my father. Mom and my brother decided to not go – they had each had their goodbyes.
I went because I thought that seeing him would help reality sink in.
But it wasn’t real. He wasn’t real.
They took him out of the fridge and put him on a medical cart and covered him with a sheet and placed the cart at the front of the sanctuary – where the alter would be in a church. The lights were dimmed.
For a more peaceful atmosphere? To make him look better? Who knows.
Whatever the intention, it didn’t work.
He just looked fake and he was as cold as a popsicle and his lips were glued shut so he didn’t gape but they didn’t do a very good job and he just looked unfamiliar.
I cried for a minute. Then I lay down on a pew and stared at him. After ten minutes, I left. Dry-eyed. There didn’t seem to be anything else to accomplish in that room.
So I went to TJ Maxx and wandered the aisles. Then I went to the Publix to buy hamburger meat.
My family is funny. Funny funny, not odd funny. My dad was really funny. We tease each other. We can get a giggle out of most anything. So we laughed a lot today and gave each other a rash of shit.
Then we went back to tennis.
When my sweet boyfriend called to check in, I almost felt guilty for not crying.
We’ve talked as much about the godawful heat in Florida, in July, as we have talked about Dad.
We have brief moments when someone starts to crack. Eyes well up. A laugh almost turns to a sob. But no one has fallen apart.
Is this all normal?
It’s normal for the Strazzas.
As normal as can be with our patriarch gone.