The kind of day you never forget.

Of course we were late for the ceremony. Searching for parking when people were entering the church. Being at the door away from the family and the coffin felt so painful. I am part of this family too, I should be there. I close my eyes and try to get the anxiety away, listening to the church dude. “He’s been living here for 41 years” 10 years later I was a baby in his life. “He was involved in different local organizations”. I can see him play petanque, getting ready to go hunting or fishing, his perfectly organized workshop. “He was in pain, which reminds us of Jesus on the cross”.

What the fuck is that. I forgot about that disgustingly lame behavior. Fucking church  you ruined it I fucking hate you.

Then I am not listening anymore, so angry (and then you ask money huh? I hate you church). Before the incense thing someone from the family sees me and gets me a place with everybody in front. Bursting in tears seeing her and others, I feel so embarrassed. After all I am the only black man in this all white crowded church. But one of the closest person of the dead. It’s kind of overwhelming.

We all follow the coffin outside. I say hello to everyone, some I had never seen again since being in my “current” family 25 years ago. My dad is chatting a little bit with her but he’s keeping it simple. After all he barely knows more than my foster parents which is a number reduced to one now.

We’re the first at the house. She arrives, I think she looks amazingly kind and pure. Exhausted too. Quickly everybody is here in the living room, starting to put on the buffet on the table. Smiles, tears, everybody is here and it’s beautiful and warm. But it’s also unbearably awkward with my dad, the stranger to whom no one talks to almost. He’s in the corner, sitting down with a plate I made for him and as pretty much all day, I can’t look in his eyes at all. I can sense that everybody is like “keep the bad language down, there’s Harold’s dad listening what would he think then huh?”. I feel bad for him. I feel bad too.

I just try to get to chat a bit with everybody, following cigarette breaks outside, getting back for more coffee to fight the jet lag and the cold thick fog of the afternoon. As much fog outside and inside my head.

It’s 2pm, the family leaves for the crematory later and while I would love to join, we have some road to hit before the Parisian traffic. It’s like I’m staying 5 minutes saying we’re leaving and doing nothing, just enjoying to have them all around me. I feel so lucky and proud. They say they put a picture of me in the coffin too. Humanity at its roots. For what it’s worth…

I think the hardest part is to stretch out my mind in order to include everyone I love. So many different worlds, so many differences, so many unique connections when in some ways, I’d like to be in a “normal“ situation with “normal” connections.

What “normal” is, what family, love, friends are. Sometimes I don’t fucking know. I just freeze.

3 Responses to “Dads”

  1. Verdell Says:

    The way you describe this in such detail, makes me feel like I was there. I can see your dad sitting in that corner. Awkwardness all around. I’m glad you made it through it and that you could be there for Monique.

  2. Harold Says:

    I still can’t read that shit back yet.

  3. Salras Says:

    worst shit I have ever heard, in a church, ceremony for my Grandma’s funeral. I was blur like you, trying not to fall crying. I remember they fucking rolled the coffin on wheels, I had never seen that. The priest had to say my grandma was not a regular christian, considering her expressed negative opinion on the pope :) and then he said something like “all mighty god who take money from the rich and give it to the poors” .. wtf. I think some texts need to be updated…

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