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Friday the 21st - 10:35 p.m.

Shannon's funeral mass was today. I had no idea the funeral was this late after her death. I'd still be clueless, except for the fact that when I woke up this morning, Elkie was pounding on my front door. She had come over to help me pick out some clothes to wear to the service.

I woke up with another nosebleed and tried to use that as an excuse not to go to Shannon’s funeral, but the headlock that Elkie put me in was a debate tactic I found hard to argue against.

Elkie pushed me into her car, where I discovered Mitchell lying down in the back seat. He looked as if Elkie had convinced him to go to the funeral in much the same way. I'm glad that Elkie drove. There is a distinct lack of parking in front of my building and I didn't want to move my car.

Mitchell kept complaining that to go to this “thing," he really needed to be a lot more drunk. Elkie reminded him that it was nine o’clock in the morning and I told Mitchell to cheer up because he was acting as if we were going to a funeral or something. That actually got an uncomfortable laugh out of the two of them and seemed to relieve the tension in the car, for a brief time anyway. Though, after that laugh, nobody said anything until we got to the funeral home on West Broad Street. I felt sort of bad about that. If we were going to ride there in silence, I could have at least kept Mitchell's bad mood intact for him.

Elkie was wearing a very nice black dress. At one point during the trip to the funeral home, she turned and smiled at me. I think she was happy that I had “agreed” to come along.

It was a closed casket and I can't remember the last time I looked into Shannon's eyes, or even what was the last thing I said to her. I never got closer than twenty feet to the casket the entire time I was there.

After that went to the mass at St. Mary Magdalene and then to the cemetery. They had already lowered the coffin into the ground, and I walked to the side of the plot and told Shannon goodbye. Her coffin was a tan color and was already quite covered in dirt.

After the burial, we went back to the funeral home for a reception. The funeral home was an odd experience. There were so many people there that I hadn’t seen since high school. It became part funeral reception, part class reunion. Elkie told me that Shannon's mass happened so much later because they had to send her body up from Texas. I guess Shannon's parents took a while deciding whether or not to have the service back here or down there. I really wish they had decided to have it in Texas.

Mitchell and I stood in the back and tried to keep to ourselves, while Elkie went around the room and mingled with people. My eyes seemed to play tricks on me the whole time. At one point I thought I saw Gerald and at another, I thought I saw the girl who played Lisa on Saved by the Bell. To my knowledge, neither of them knew Shannon and had no reason to be at her funeral.

After the reception, Elkie dropped off Mitchell at his house then drove me straight home. Elkie told me she would call me later to see how I was doing. I told her that I was fine except my neighbor's dogs bark too much, and I that really needed to move.

Elkie gave me a long hug. The hug lasted exactly forty-two seconds. Before she left, Elkie told me she was proud of me, and I told her that I wasn't.

Tomorrow there's a Clint Eastwood classic movie marathon on TV.

Tomorrow should be a much better day.

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