Sunday, October 25, 2015

In which we have Doris' not-service, not-funeral gig

We are back from the funeral and we are exhausted.

However, I have to say that Sly was nice - or at least, he was not mean - to me. I don't think asking me where his urine bottle was by saying, "Aren't you the official urine-bottle holder?" was meant to be a compliment, but whatever.

And Ted was nice. In his speech, he said that his wife and Doris had fallen in love from the instant they met 21 years ago, etc, etc.

I looked across the room at Stephanie and smiled. Clearly, we were not the Good Daughters in Law.

I asked Primo later if TW's knew how much Sly and Doris criticized her behind her back. She ate all the pickled herring, she doesn't know how to load a dishwasher, she served them roast goose and it was disgusting, she drinks too much (glass houses). Primo doesn't know.

About 20 friends and neighbors showed up, which was a more than respectable showing considering that all Primo did was place an obituary ("They took out the Oxford commas I had used!" he fumed about the paper and the obituary) and tell one of the neighbors. It was truly touching to see that many people at the service.

I also noticed in the slide show that although there were photos of Isabel and of Stephanie, both ex-DILs, there was not one of me. I mentioned it to Primo.

"What? Oh no! Are you offended? You should be offended."

I am not. I don't care. I know where I stand.

Primo and I had to drive an hour to pick Sly up and then go an hour back to the funeral home, Then we had to repeat the process to return him to the rehab center. The day did not start well - we left 30 minutes after we had intended. We were delayed because we had left the door to the garage open and didn't know if the cats had gotten out, so had to do a recon to find the cats first. They were inside.

Then, as Primo backed out, we heard a thump. We saw a deluge of brown liquid on the driver-side windshield.

Primo's coffee.

In all his life, this was the one time he left the coffee on top of the car.

There was drama. There was tension. And then there was no coffee, which was the saddest part.

We drove the hour to the rehab center. Got Sly in the car. Drove to the funeral home. Got Sly out of the car. Set up the food that Stephanie had picked up. Changed into our funeral clothes. (Because we were not going to drive an hour each way in dress-up clothes in the June Florida heat.)

Ted's wife appeared, the favored one.

"I wanted Sly to die first," I told her, "so that Doris could have a few years of peace. A few years with friends, living in assisted living, meeting people for coffee and talking about books, maybe getting her hair done and getting a pedicure."

"Pedicure?" TW scoffed. "That was not her."

Way to miss the point, TW. But you made yours: You knew Doris better than I did.

She did know Doris better. That's fine. I didn't care. I guess Doris never wrote her a nasty letter. I shrugged, said, "I'm getting something to drink."

I don't need to fight that battle. I was trying to express sympathy for Doris, not start a war.

We took Sly back to rehab. He told Primo he didn't want everyone to go there and have dinner with him, which was what I had anticipated.

When Ted had made his grand pronouncement last night, I said, "Your dad will be exhausted after the funeral! This is a bad idea!"

Wait - I thought I had written about this.

Jack had arranged a Fathers Day dinner at his house. He had invited all of us, but it was mostly for his kids.

Last night, at about 10 p.m, Ted emailed an announcement to Primo and Jack that everyone would gather at the nursing home in Sly's room for dinner.

Jack protested - he already had made plans!

Ted informed him that Ted was changing the plan. Jack was ticked. But you know - Ted. Ted has decided he is In Charge.

My comment was that I suspected that the last thing Sly would want - this is an 81 year old man who has just had surgery and has had a few infections and problems since - would be a bunch of people in his room after an already-long day.

And of course I was right.

Sometimes there is great relief in being right, although we still had to take Sly back. I would have been happy to abdicate that responsibility to someone else.

Primo and I spent some time with Sly in his room, then drove back with the Bag du Jour of Urine-Soaked Clothes. It sat next to the urn containing Doris' ashes. Poor Doris. Even in death, Sly has to dominate.


  1. Were there no Depends available? Or was it that Sly wouldn't wear them?

    I still have memories (bad memories) of being a little girl laying in a urine-soaked bed (yes, I was a bedwetter). I'll be wearing those Depends if and when the time comes.

    1. I asked Primo - shockingly, this occurred to neither of us while it was happening, but you would think the nursing home would have said something. No. He was not wearing Depends. Maybe the staff had suggested and Sly refused?

  2. Thank goodness Ted didn't say anything outrageous! I'm sure Primo was grateful you were there, in his corner. NO photo of you at all? I guess the photo would have come after you earned their love and respect!

    1. Emma, if I have to wait for their respect, that photo will never happen!

  3. I'm glad that the funeral went fairly well and I am impressed that Ted was well-behaved.

    And even if he was wrong about what Sly would want, I appreciate the thought that he was at least trying to include Sly and make the day more about him and Doris on the day of Doris' funeral. Overruling Jack. Mr-making-the-day-all-about-himself.

    Because WTF? First you make Father's Day the only possible day to have the funeral because you won't re-arrange your furniture delivery by a week, AND THEN you try to salvage Father's Day for yourself and your kids on the day YOUR FATHER is burying his wife? Hello?

    Okay, okay. There's some intervening justification I suppose - I mean, it's not like Sly has done a lot to engender fatherly love and loyalty in Jack, and you can kind of understand how after a lifetime of his crap, Jack routinely focuses on himself and his family instead of Sly, but still. Some things are bigger than even that if you want to be a decent person. Sometimes the real lesson in life is that you sacrifice the day entirely because that's just the way life goes and special circumstances trump special days on rare occasions. Or you move it to next weekend if you still want to have it that badly.

    So... Ted may have all of Sly's meanness, but from over here, it looks like Jack has all of Sly's self-centeredness.

    Again, I'm really glad that the funeral went off fairly well, without the kind of major drama during the service that one might have expected. RIP Doris.

    - Anonymous Cat

    1. Well - Except they had been planning this for weeks and Ted decided at the last minute that he was going to change the plan. Ted swooping in at 10 p.m. announcing a change in plan was not unexpected, though - that's how he is.

      I have to cut Jack some slack on this - here is information that was not in the post - his mom was shipping furniture to him from her house up north and he had no control over the arrival date. His mom hates Sly, so of course would not have done anything to accommodate Sly.

    2. When I'm dealing with people like that, I usually just smile and say something like "No thanks, I think I'll stick with the plan, but I'll understand if you can't join us." That both tells them to eff off, and that you don't care what they do. Drives them NUTS for it to not be ALL. ABOUT. THEM.

      (Can you tell I had to learn to deal with that kind of behavior at an early age?)

    3. Cosmic Avenger, I just read your comment to Primo and I didn't even get to finish before he said, "The FIRST TIME Ted came to Florida, he announced at 10 p.m. on a Friday that he would be there the next day! He didn't ask me what he could do to help. He didn't ask if that timing worked. And when I actually did want him to help - to be with Dad - so I could spend more time at home with you, he wouldn't do it! He just announced that he was swooping in!"

    4. Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad to hear that Jack is a relatively okay guy, and oof. Poor guy. That his mom also can't tell the difference between accommodating Sly, and accommodating *Jack* - her son - who has people other than Sly to deal with around Doris' death. That's gotta be crazymaking.

    5. Yeah, Sly apparently - according to Primo - has never said a nice thing about his ex-wife. She seems to feel the same way about him. It's been more than 50 years. Get over it!

    6. BTW, I love how you handle last-minute schedule changes! I hope I don't have to see Ted for a long time, but if I do, I will have your response in my pocket.

  4. So it seems like you were able to get out of going to Jack's dinner? That, at least, is a blessing. And who could possibly think taking a big group of people to the hospital to visit a man with cancer, post-surgery, post-funeral is a good idea? Ted is angling to be the "good son who knows how to care for his father('s money)," just watch.

    1. Yeah, you have Ted pegged! I can't believe he thought that his dad, who had just had surgery a few weeks before, and who would have to spend two hours in a car that day, in addition to attending the funeral, would be feeling well enough to have a crowd of people in his room! Ted has apparently never been around sick people before.


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