Cakewalk

My father tried to go live on Facebook as my sister and I were speaking, but he said he must have hit the wrong button, so there’s no record of what I said today.

I remember the first line, and the last line. Everything in between, you’ll have to ask someone else. The first line was “this is the one funeral Carolyn Baker’s ever been to that she wasn’t working” (funny only if you knew how long she’d been a church musician) and the last was “I couldn’t have turned into a better human being, Mom, and you did it all.”

I still haven’t cried, and I am not saying that as a badge of accomplishment. I am saying that I have not reached the breaking point where I cannot even. On Friday night, I saw my mother in her casket, clearly dead as a door nail, and still, it didn’t feel real. In fact, the whole thing from the visitation to the funeral felt like we’d forgotten to pick her up, as if this was an event she would have wanted to attend and just couldn’t make it.

At the visitation, I just felt like an awkward, gawky teenager, because as I have said before, I left home at 22 and therefore, I was constantly surrounded with people I didn’t know. People that wanted to hug me and cry on me that I’d never met in my life. My mirror neurons went off and I accepted people unconditionally while my inner introvert was screaming that I just wanted these people to go home.

The funeral today was better. There were a lot more people I knew, including my best high school friends that I didn’t even know were coming until James arrived. Because I didn’t have a spouse, I knew I would still need support, so I enlisted James to be the person I could fall on if I suddenly could not even. He sat next to me at the graveside service, told me I did a great job at the funeral, and bought me drinks. Pretty much the way to my heart….. until my other high school friend, Alberto, bought me tacos and gelato.

If we’re going to choose between drinks and ice cream, ice cream wins.

Sorry, James.

Although James got to me when he said that during the funeral, it looked like I just walked up and owned the place…. like I looked comfortable in my own skin. It’s true. In a church service, no matter what kind, I am much more comfortable in the pulpit or in the choir loft. I am a horrible parishioner…. probably due to so many years of learning how the sausage gets made.

It’s to my detriment, though, because I don’t know how to have a pastor, when right now is when I should probably call one. I’ve been meaning to talk to Matt since I was waiting for the plane at BWI, but I still haven’t called back. Remind me, would you?

People have told me that this just looks so easy for me. It will be until reality hits, which I am expecting sometime Tuesday, when I’ve had a full 24 hours back in my own bed in my own house and my mother hasn’t called to ask how my speech went.

I also got to have an amazing amount of closure with Dana, because after that one phone call, she’s practically ignored me this whole trip. Nothing has to be said. I know where I stand.

Help comes from where you least expect it, not from where you go looking…. and that’s all I have to say about that.

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