My head felt foggy and heavy this morning, as I moved slowly from a dream that left me feeling bad inside to the dawning realization that I didn’t order flowers for my Aunt Mary’s funeral today.
Was I supposed to send flowers? Oh, god… how could I not do that?
I would be conspicuously missing from the group, since I’m the only one who moved more than an hour or so away. Would a gaudy arrangement make up for my absence? Maybe I could have dictated an appropriately apologetic note to the florist so everyone could know that I wanted to be there with them. Would my father feel embarrassed or disappointed that I didn’t make the trip?
My sister was going – she seems to have taken on the role of Golden Child, anyway. This is one time when I was glad of that. I wanted my father to have one of us there to support him in the death of his sister. My littlest sister would be there as well, but at 19 (she’s a half-sister) she needed comforting herself. She’s the one who called to tell me about Aunt Mary’s stroke last week with her sweet voice choking on the words.
I wanted to be there. I wanted to see my cousins and aunts and uncles and meet wrinkly old relatives I never knew I had. I wanted my dad to feel the love I’ve grown to have for him, and I wanted his pain to be a little bit less if I could help it.
But after weighing Aunt Mary’s unexpected death against my unpredictable life, it did not seem like the right time to make a pilgrimage to Indiana. And so I stayed and felt sad (and guilty) all by myself.
It turns out, Dad ordered flowers from all of us.
Thanks, Dad. I love you – wow, I really do. And you too, Aunt Mary. Rest in peace…