Thursday, October 18, 2007

Funeral Frenzy

So, this whole thing with my father's death has been a scavenger hunt for information. I found out that he passed from one of my best friends. Her husband is friends with my father's oldest daughter's husband. Does that make sense? Long story short, if my friend hadn't married the man she chose, I would not have found out about my father's death. Then, the details were sketchy.

First he died on Wednesday, then his body had not been released from the hospital until almost a week later. Then, we didn't know where the funeral was going to be. My grandma called around to all of the funeral homes in Baltimore. We got a hit on March's East. Then, a few days later we found out that the arrangements had been moved somewhere else. So, cut to yesterday morning. I woke up and found a text from my best friend saying that the funeral was that day. We still didn't know when and where. I called her back, got her to call the other daughter's husband and finally got the info.

So, me, my mom, my sister and my grandma set out to the funeral home. We were the first one's there. The man in the casket looked alot like me. I've got this thing about funerals and was not comfortable getting closer than 2 feet. Eventually, 'the family' arrived in a limousine. For those of you that know my grandma, you already know how anxious my mom and I were to set Senior Penni loose. She was going up to people asking them if they were 'family' and let them know that my mom was the 'first wife'. LOL Ok, my father only had one wife, my mom. His eldest daughter and her brother were the product of a relationship before he met and married my mom. Most of the attendees had no idea that my sister and I even existed. We have an aunt (who did know about us) and first cousins that never knew about us.

While my sister and I didn't know the extent of our family ties, we knew that there was somebody out there related to us. We nurtured the void for all of our lives.

It was bittersweet to hear so many people stand up and say nice things about this man that I have few fond memories of. My mom said it best when she said, 'Maybe he turned his life around.' I believe in redemption, so, that notion suits me just fine.

As we were sitting there listening to all of these kind words, my sister was writing fast and furious on a piece of paper from her purse. I turned to her and whispered, 'You're not going up there to say something are you?' She replied, 'I don't know, I might.' I was worried, what was she going to say. Was this about to turn into a univision telenovella? You see, my sister has a gift of bluntness, she doesn't hold back, she's not phoney and she doesn't care about being polite or PC. With her thoughts jotted down, she proceeded to the front of the room, prepared to speak. Senior Penni said to her, 'Just don't break down up there.' That to my grandma is akin to humiliating our family. Well, my sister got up there and spoke the singular most profound, heartfelt and poignant words I've ever heard from her lips...

Lost I tried to find you.
Two years or was it all 33 that I searched for you
and all along you were here.
Right here at arms reach.
Now that you
have slipped into heaven, I finally get to know you.
I am blessed you have
been found...
and so have I.

Unconditional love is where you'll find
Meet you when I get there.
This chapter in my life has been
I am glad that the life you led was a good book
and that each
person in this room got to write a chapter in your book of life.
And most
importantly, that I got to know you today through all of those that shared your
No matter what I love you unconditionally.

I am your daughter.
I am Mini Penni.
I am 33.
To the family, the friends in this room...
I love you,
I need you,
You're my family.

There was not a dry eye in the house. Then everyone started whispering,
That's Penni and Mini Penni, they're his other daughters.
I didn't know he had other daughters.
Look that's them sitting right there.

Unbeknownst to us, we were sitting right next to our first cousins. Upon hearing my sisters words, one of them jumped up to speak. With tears in his eyes, he expressed sorrow about just finding out about us. He said, I'm your cousin. I love y'all.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about father. My condolences.

The fact that you made it to his funeral speaks volumes about the type of person you are.