Order of Operations

I don't know how I'm going to get through this week. I honestly don't.

I probably should have skipped the Italian feast in New Jersey on Monday. But I've been doing it every year for a while now, and had already put in for the vacation day. But with my Aunt's funeral coming up on Wednesday, it meant that I'd be missing half a day at the very least. My boss will understand, but it's going to have a serious impact on my workload. I should have gone to work on Monday.

The day started out pretty crummy, with my dad upset at the way his nephew worded the obituary. Apparently there are all these rules, such as a name in parentheses indicates a spouse, or siblings should be listed in age order. My Aunt had two sons. The older is married with four boys; the younger never married but has had the same girlfriend for over 30 years. So he put his name first, with her name in parentheses, then his brother's name. When he got to his Aunts and his Uncle(my dad), he swapped the order a bit so it looked like the youngest sister was second, followed by my dad, then my Aunt Rose. Also, he has my dad's name wrong. It's not a major thing, simply the nickname his sisters called him, which literally is just his name with a “y” at the end of it. That's it. But he's grieving, so he's probably taking it as more of a big deal than it should be. He called another sister to complain, and I got angry when I heard him mention that my name wasn't there nor her other cousin's. I don't care if my name is in the obituary; I don't think it should be. Those things are just announcements anyway, prone to typographical errors that anyone who was close to the deceased will recognize.

So when my dad got off the phone, we had a bit of an argument. “How will my friends know that's me!” he insisted, “What if they wanted to come pay their respects? It sounds like I'm some little kid!” I countered that he'd been complaining about the limitations of being 80 years old and not feeling magically younger after his heart surgery, but he wasn't in a joking mood. I tried to tell him that I didn't actually disagree with him, only that he should keep it to himself, at least for now, that the wording of the blurb bothered him. My aunt's son is grieving too; now isn't the time to pick a fight over something small. And telling one of his sister's is basically like telling the whole family, as much as he insists that he didn't actually complain to the son.

In any case, I was soon on the train to New Jersey, for a long day that thankfully wasn't as hot as the last few have been. I have a bit of a sunburn, but there was a nice breeze. Everyone asked how my dad was doing, and a few that I told about our loss expressed their condolences. Somewhere in there I got a free beer; the band gets wristbands from the feast bar when the procession is over. The waitress charged me for my second drink. She claimed the bartender only put the first round on the house, but I was sure I saw other guys drinking without paying. Our drummer somehow got a cheeseburger in the mix too. If she overheard me tell one of the players she looked like she was in her 40s when he asked what my opinion of her was, that might explain why she came back and charged me. Honestly, I think she was older and I was being nice, but I tipped her as an apology just to be safe. Twelve hours later, I was back in Long Island, with my day off a blur.

Reality set in when I checked my work e-mail from home. There is a lot going on right now, including a ton of things that are running late because I wasn't there. Three different writers actually used “MCF isn't here today” as an excuse to people asking where certain projects were. So I need to go in early Tuesday, tell my boss I probably won't be there Wednesday, likely skip lunch, and then I can't really work too late because the wake is from 4-8 PM and I promised my dad I'd try to get there no later than 6. Then I'm driving one of my aunts back to her nursing home because my dad can't drive at night, and early the next day is the mass, where I'm now apparently doing a reading.

I'm seriously on autopilot right now. I need to go into super efficient robot mode on Tuesday, shut everything else out, and focus on getting three days of work completed in one day. And after all that, I'm finally going to see the body, and this whole thing is going to be real. I probably blew up at my dad despite knowing the stress he's under because I have some underlying negative feelings about this whole situation too. I'm sure it's the same reason he blew the obituary wording out of proportion as well. Our whole family is going to be on edge for the next few days. I've broken days out into priority focus, a clear order of operations. Monday I was the dutiful musician. On Tuesday, I will be an office machine. And on Wednesday, I will be a good son and nephew, patient and supportive of those around me. The more I hear about the itinerary of the mass and cemetery and lunch at some restaurant afterwards, the less likely it seems I'm making an important 2:30 companywide meeting. I don't think I'll be missed; it will the CEO addressing a cafeteria full of employees, and I'll be one face missing from the crowd. If I go in at all on Wednesday, it will be to get anything back on schedule that I failed to finish on Tuesday. And as I'm stressing about the timing of it all, I can't help but feel guilty that I'm like my aunt who blatantly said if her sister didn't die while she was up from Florida, she would not be making a return trip. Death isn't convenient, nor should it be. There are things in life that supersede other things. There are ripples and waves, and all we can do is grab a piece of driftwood, and hang on until regular currents resume.

I don't know how I'm going to get through this week, but one day at a time, I know I will.


Blogger Spockgirl said...

You can and you will.

7/27/2010 12:46 AM  
Anonymous FawnDoo said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss, I really am. The first time a member of my family died since I became an adult, I was struck by how busy the period was, and how much there was to do: and as you point out, most of this has to be done while stuff piles up at work. All we can hope for in situations like this is to get through with as few scrapes and bruises as possible. An understanding boss doesn't hurt, either. As Spockgirl says, you will get through it, and your dad will too. Just forgive one another your occasional flare-ups and you'll be fine.

Again though, really sorry for your loss.

7/27/2010 7:37 AM  

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