If I ever need to cry on cue, I've found four triggers recently which completely take away my ability to function as an adult. This post contains two of 'em.
- My cousins chose the most awful picture of Dad to put on the funeral programs. It printed badly, but the source material was no better. And what's strange is his brother thought it represented him better than the one I went with to display at the entrance, which captured his warmth and humor with a half-smile, the way I'd want him remembered. This other one wasn't that, and it wasn't the intimidating presence my friends will remember, either. It was just someone else. I think the photographer should lose camera priviliges over it. But, despite all that, it's what some close relatives felt best represented him. Wierd.
I'm convinced that this picture is what the embalmer had to work with, 'cause their work came out hideously wrong too. But I think I'm glad he didn't look natural, for my own sake in trying to get over this. No room for illusion. The man's not sleeping. (it would've been out of place anyway - my dad had terrible insomnia...)
Before we closed the casket to carry him out to the gravesite, we slipped a poem my older brother wrote back in elementary school into his coat pocket. Dad carried this around in his wallet for as long as anyone can remember, so we thought he should have it. My younger brother added the gold medal he received when his chorus won that big international competition last year. I wasn't expecting that. Myself, I only had words, and most of them left me.
"Keep watching, Dad. I will make you proud."
So, that's been my focus, and how I justified going back to my artwork without a respectful period of lethargy. It's melodramatic and hints at an inferiority complex, but this wasn't an empty promise. I don't make those.