John Lee Walters, 1932-2003

Grandpa and Amy after her graduation - May 6, 2000

Well, I don’t particularly feel like blogging right now… but I don’t feel like doing anything else, either, except maybe zoning out completely or soaking in the tub or something.

I had today off of work, so it was serendipitous that Amy’s grandpa’s funeral was scheduled for today. Like I told her, I wasn’t about to stay at home, kicked back and saying, "Hey, Amy’s miserable right now…" No. She’s my best friend, and he was a great, funny, witty, selfless guy, and I just have too much respect for the both of them not to drive two hours to attend his funeral service. Plus, I knew Amy would need some support — not just because of her grandpa’s sudden passing, but because her mother was coming to the funeral.

Now, normally, having your mother at your grandfather’s funeral wouldn’t be a problem. But when you have a mother like Amy’s mother, it becomes an issue. I could go on about how she’s a self-centered pathological liar,
but I’ll just put it this way: Amy’s grandpa specifically had a clause in his will stating that his daughter (Amy’s mother) was intentionally omitted from the will. While I can appreciate her wanting to mourn her somewhat-estranged father, despite what she’s said about him in the past, I don’t feel that stirring up trouble is appropriate. Especially since he’d said he didn’t want her to even know when he ever died, so she wouldn’t be at the funeral and wouldn’t cause a stink.

And, here’s the kicker: At a family funeral in the past (I don’t recall for whom), Amy’s mother took pictures. As for myself, I find it interesting that death is the one part of life that we as a society don’t feel comfortable documenting in photos, and I’m intrigued by those who go against the mores of society. But Grandpa was frankly disgusted by the picture-taking, and specifically stated in the funeral arrangements (made back in 1986 — how’s that for planning ahead?) that he wanted no photographs taken at his funeral. So what does Amy’s mother do? Brings a damn disposable camera with a flash and takes a freakin’ photo shoot. All her kids there in the funeral home. Him in his casket in the funeral home. The pallbearers bringing the casket to the interment site. The list goes on. That steamed Amy’s grandma sooo much. It felt like one final ‘fuck you’ to Grandpa’s wishes.

Gypsy and BabyBut, anyway. After the interment, Amy invited me to follow them to their house and relax for a while before heading back home. I got to meet their dogs, and her Grandma bought us all KFC, and everybody got to rant about Amy’s mother for a while. 🙂

I still feel like I need some quality Amy-and-Diana time to discuss some philosophical issues, like how she felt as an atheist reading Psalm 69 at the service. Personally, I have known for some time now that I am no longer a Christian (and I feel I can admit that freely here on this website, knowing the few of you who are my audience). I don’t know what I do believe, precisely, especially with the passing of my own grandmother, but I know I don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian form of God. To avoid alienating my readership entirely, I won’t go into detail about how I feel about Christianity, but suffice to say that listening to a funeral service makes me uncomfortable.

Well, then. My train of thought has come to a screeching halt, so maybe it’s time I found something else to do. I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat, tired but I don’t want to sleep, bored but don’t want to read or watch TV.

Poor Amy. She’s got so much to deal with… but that’s a story for another day. Just… poor Amy.

I know what else I was going to say. At both of the open-casket viewings I’ve been to in the past couple of months (not my Memaw’s; that one was closed-casket), I have been really creeped out by seeing a dead person lying there. I’ve been creeped out (and, yes, "creeped out" goes beyond "disturbed") by all the open viewings I’ve been to, from Brother Cothran from church back when I was 12 or 13 up until Grandpa today.
Thankfully, there was a stretch through high school and again from my early college years until Memaw’s death that I hadn’t been to a viewing or a funeral. Anyway, I can appreciate "needing closure" and all that… but at both of the open-casket viewings I’ve been to recently, I went up to "pay my respects," reflected on how almost-lifelike the body looked, and then my sense of humor took over and I said to myself, "Yep, it’s a dead guy," and moved on. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, triggered by my being disturbed at seeing a deceased body. I don’t know. Probably.

At any rate, I’m glad Memaw’s viewing wasn’t open-casket, because she looked nothing like herself by the time she died. And I got exactly the reaction I’d been hoping for by displaying a photo of her in her late 40’s or early 50’s by the casket: before the service, I heard the woman sitting behind us say, "She was so beautiful…"

When I die, assuming I’m not cremated… don’t look at me, please. I’m sure that, wherever I am, it’ll creep me out.