Funerals Never Go Smoothly

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Scott won't let me buy their outfits for the funeral. He insists that I have done enough for him. So instead, he takes out some money from the bank, goes to the store with Lindsey, and comes back two hours later with a suit and a black dress. When he arrives, he asks me to make sure that they're both appropriate for a funeral, that his mind has been incredibly clouded lately, and he can't make good judgement calls on anything. They try on the outfits, I approve them, and then I begin to make dinner. Scott is the chef, but he's too distracted by his own thoughts to make anything, so I'm in charge. After I preheat the oven for frozen pizza, Lindsey and I play multiple rounds of tic-tac-toe, until she wins so many times that I loathe myself. Then we move on to hangman. Scott doesn't take part in this fun. He stays in my bedroom.

I gave him and Lindsey the bedroom after a lot of arguing. He didn't want to take it, insisting he could sleep on the couch or even the floor. I figured since there are two of them, they could both fit in my bed and slender, little me could sleep on my small couch. Most of the prior days have been spent with Scott in the bedroom making calls, and Lindsey and I hanging out in the living room. There's only so many games I can handle with stuffed animals and only so many cases veterinarians can deal with and fake operate on. Then we move on so she's giving me the check-ups instead of the dogs, and then after that it's her owning a store and me going to make purchases for over one million dollars. I have to keep reminding myself to be nice to her because her dad just died, but honestly if I have to diagnose one more stuffed dog I'll be the next goner.

The day of the funeral does not go smoothly. When I wake up, Scott is sitting at my small dinner table, drinking coffee with red eyes and a blotchy face. Lindsey looks sick. I rub my face, go to the cupboards, pour some cereal, and try to get her to eat it. She doesn't want food. I sigh and eat the cereal myself, then take the first shower because they both say they're too tired. I try to make it quick, so I can get ready before either of them need to. Scott goes after me, and then finally Lindsey. While they both shower, I use my bedroom to get ready, and then I leave it open for them. Lindsey asks me to do her hair, so while Scott slowly moves around, getting ready at a turtle's pace, I blow dry it for her. It takes forever with her long hair, and I remind her that she still needs a haircut. She only nods silently. I sigh again. She has already gotten into her black dress, so I can completely fix her hair without worrying that sliding clothes over her head would mess it up. I Google cute braids, since it's the only hairstyle I know how to do, and decide on a nice side braid that starts on her right side behind her ear and trails all the way down to rest on her left shoulder. I let her use some of my lip balm to make her lips shiny, and then I get her into her shoes.

"You look very nice," I say when we're all finished.

"You do, too," she responds quietly.

We decide to go wait in the car for Scott so he can be alone and take his time. I ask her, when we're outside, if she's feeling any better. She shakes her head and gets into the backseat. I'm not used to her not talking, so I don't know what to say. We wait in silence for Scott, who comes shortly after, and sits in the passenger seat. I make sure they've both buckled up, and we drive thirty minutes to the funeral home. We barely talk the whole way there, except for Scott thanking me for driving. Too polite, that one.

Him and Lindsey are part of the funeral procession, so while they prepare for that, I sit alone in the church, in the second row because the first row is reserved for family only. Christian's urn is in there with a blown up photo of him. This is awkward.

I'm so relieved when people start showing up. The rows fill up easily. How did he know so many people? There's a lot of hugging, people reuniting over a death, but I know absolutely no one. The music begins and suddenly everyone is quiet. Scott enters with Lindsey by his side, then he is followed by who I assume to be Christian's parents and siblings. They take their seats in front of me, Scott glancing back at me and smiling sadly. The pastor walks up onto the platform to speak, welcomes us, talks about why we were brought together today, and has us mumble a prayer with him.

Apparently that's the lady on stage's cue to start singing a song about how Jesus walks with us. She sounds gorgeous.

We speak to God again, and then a man in his early twenties stands and takes the pastor's place in front of the microphone.

"Hi," he clears his throat, "I'm Colin Drasdid, Christian's younger brother."

I look from the large framed picture of Christian below him and compare their features back and forth. Christian has incredibly thick, brown hair. Brown like dirt and the stuff that comes out of a cow's--

Sorry.

Anyway, I guess I can see how they could be siblings since I know now, but I'd never know if he hadn't told us. Colin has sandy, shaggy hair, and is much more laid back. He's also bigger than Christian. Weird.

"Even though he's gone, I'll still be his younger brother. I will always be the boy who he used to tease and throw things at and boss around. I only wish I would've known how to cherish those things while I had them."

Mrs. Drasdid lets out a loud sob. Her husband reaches over and rubs her back.

"Christian was always my best friend. I remember once I snuck out to..."

And just like that, I'm not listening anymore. I'm drowning out his voice with my thoughts. Scott is listening intently, and eventually, I faintly hear Colin mention the day Lindsey was born, and I see Scott take Lindsey's hand and squeeze it.

After Colin's apparently-touching eulogy, the pastor invites anyone else who would like to speak to come to the front. Christian's mom stands, tells us some funny stories about Christian as a kid, which is ironic since she's bawling her eyes out, and sits back down shortly after. Then Scott stands up, walks to the front, and this time, I'm actually listening.

"Christian was the sweetest guy you'd ever meet."

Okay, well, that's a lie. It's like suddenly when people die they're such great people.

"And an amazing father to Lindsey."

I reach forward and rub Lindsey's shoulder.

"And even though I know he wouldn't want us to be crying over him today," Scott sniffles, "I just can't help it. But it's not over him. I'm crying over the fact I, and none of us in this room, will be able to hear one of his stupid jokes again. I'm crying over the fact that he will never be able to go to Europe. I'm crying the fact that no one else will ever have the chance to meet him. I'm not crying over the life he lived. I'm crying over the rest of the life he has to miss out on."

And with that, Scott steps down. I see people dabbing at their eyes, mascara smears under them. When he sits back down, he suggests for Lindsey to go up and speak. She shakes her head, but he pushes. She shakes her head again. And, I literally don't know why or how the words come out of me, but I offer to go up there with her. Then, of course, she accepts.

What am I doing?

I lead her up there, lower the microphone way down, and keep my hand on her shoulder, comforting her. She takes a deep breath, but then looks up at me, worried, and freezes. I encourage her, but then she says, "You first."

Are you kidding me? First I get myself into this mess, and now I actually have to do something? And lie in front of all these people. I give a small sigh, bend down, and talk into the short microphone.

"I didn't know Christian that well, but based on how Scott and Lindsey talk about him, I know he must've been a wonderful guy." I straighten back up, seeing a lot of people nod at me, agreeing, and urge Lindsey to speak now.

She whispers, "What do I say?"

I tell her to say how she feels.

"I..." She starts, nervous. "I miss Papa a lot because he used to tuck me in at night and he used to drive me to school and my life is going to be so much different without him." I rub her back. "Daddy tells me he's looking down at me from heaven and I really hope that's true because if I can't see him I at least hope he can see me."

That really starts the tears in the room, and when we head back to our seats, Scott hugs his daughter.

As we sing to Amazing Grace I can't help but wonder just how long this day is going to be.

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