At my grandpa's funeral, my father and I stand holding hands, watching an eagle swoop down and tear a small bird to bits. It flies off with two halves, one in its beak and the other in its claws, and three crows fly off with it, attacking it repeatedly. My dad looks at me and points beyond the casket, while the eagle cartwheels off into the pines.
I think that this scene should be poignant somehow, or have some vast karmic meaning, but mostly I am amused to see the crows lead a full-on assault of a bird five times their size. While staring after them all, I see my grandpa's best friend, in his Hawaiian shirt, looking very small and ancient despite being over 300 pounds and 6 feet tall. It's plain his heart is broken, and all I can think of when I see him is that it's still hard to reconcile this big old man who is a kind old uncle of sorts to me with his other life, where he sells midget porn and butt plugs the size of table top christmas trees.
I feel this way a lot about a good portion of the people here.
My friend-slash-hairstylist, a former boarder at my grandpa's house, whispers to me about various liasons and scandalous acts committed by any of the older queens present, and while I'm not surprised, it's strange to think about your elderly fairy godfathers still getting ass. Lots of it. In various manners and places and....
I'll think about Thanksgivings, having olives pulled out of my ears, eating whatever bread or cookie Grandpa whipped up in his kitchen, and all of that family-ish sort of jazz. I'm ok with sexual lives, but I'd prefer to stay insulated the way they all worked to keep me. I'm cool with being the sassy, smartassed little girl with sticky hands and a big round tummy to them still.
Well, my belly's still round, at least.
I am wearing my grandpa's onyx ring. There is a big chip in the corner, and it is beat to hell. If I saw it on the side of the road, I'd probably keep walking despite being a crow like my mother who wants to put everything shiny in her pockets. My dad is wearing a much prettier ring, it's tiger's eye, I think, but it has gold ticks around the square face and I think that it looks like a ring watch. Over and over I have to swallow down my urges to collect everything here of my grandpa's, I have this deep need to "keep" everything for him. I don't want it, I just don't want to see things spread around. You don't loan jewlery and hats and things like that out because you've gone on vacation. You leave those things to people when you've died. And I still am pretty not alright with that concept.
Earlier, while the casket was open and my mom, dad, cousins and I stayed in the funeral home's foyer to greet people, I walked by an open door and spied the heavily made-up nose and bald ostrich-egg pate lying in the casket. It looked like any time he'd sit up and make bitchy noises in the back of his throat at all of the silliness and bowleg-walk out of the room. On his own, of course. But he hasn't walked on his own in about five years now, and he isn't wearing his glasses, and his hair is too short, and he forgot his hat and none of that will do. It's all wrong.
Also, they painted his lips and face the same color. It's very mod. I think it's to look "natural", but I don't know anyone who actually looks like that. Other than that, he looks like I could walk in and hold his hand. And a very surprisingly large part of me wants to. Hugely. Instead, weird, squelched, raw pig noises start squeaking out of my throat and I am finally at the anger stage as I rush out a back door to lose it for a good bit. I am mad at myself still, that the last time I saw him was September and that my last memory will be of being horrified and depressed at how deaf and physically slow he'd gotten. I'm ashamed that I couldn't stop being an asshole before the next time I saw him, which is now. I hope that there is an afterlife or some sort of part of the consciousness lives on, and then I won't feel like I have to explain.
The funeral home is full, with the family seated in the middle and half of the right hand side. They're mixed in with the ancient group of Masons, and look a little confused about the tiny old men wearing purple aprons and holding canes. On the left side, there are kids (now older than my dad) who had Grandpa as a DeMolay dad - a kind of cubscouts for freemasons, I figure out. There are kids (now in their fifties) who knew him when he worked at a local high school. They all look slightly bewildered as to why they're here and if it's alright. It is. I'm glad they are. I think I get my tendancy to keep various parts of my life completely separate from one another comes from my Grandpa at this point, and it's a little odd to think of how and why that is. I'm too exhausted to ponder it, I haven't been sleeping well with a belly full of large baby who squirms when I am not busy crying.
A small crowd follows to the graveside service, it's freezing and windy but all of the Washitonians present remark on how lucky we are there's no rain. Of course. It's like some version of a local prayer, no matter what's happening, "lucky the weather held out".
My son is holding hands with an elderly freemason who has a hearing aid that makes him look like a more organic version of the Borg. He is fascinated with the waving of evergreens, and needs to put on a sweater, so he does a jigglejoggle dance in place to keep all of the weird inside. He's a good kid, my kid. He has clung to "His Bubba" (my dad, his grandpa) like glue this entire day, wanting nothing to do with me or my mom, really. It's good, I think my dad needs it the most. I've never seen the man so broken-looking and lost in my life, and something has changed to where he is able to say "I love you" more easily and all of the burred edges have laid back until he's more like a hedgehog in his prickliness than a thistle. It makes me feel very young and too old too fast at the same time. I am not ready to see my dad be old, but he's aged over night and I finally see him as less a "dad" and more a "grandpa" in a warped phallocentric "mother / maiden / crone" trine.
It's all getting too weird. I edge up to the coffin, suspended above a cement hole (which is surprising to me, cement, really?) and a small, dark, solidly built man appears out of nowhere and very tenderly kisses the lid. I stop my snail crawl in mild shock and stare after him. Out of everyone here, he is the most visably affected. I don't remember talking to him or seeing him speak to anyone, and I don't see him again.
As we drive home, I am worried about that man more than anything or anyone else.