A Posthumous Apology

Dear Carl,

I'm sorry I laughed at your funeral. I wouldn't have at any other, I swear. I know they're supposed to be really solemn events, but it just turned out so completely wrong, and I needed something to laugh at. I hadn't even smiled since it happened. And I'm sure if you'd seen the whole thing you would have been busting a gut right there with me.

We all gathered at the Church your mom used to drag you and Meg to every Sunday. That's the first thing that got to me. While your mom and Meg were devout you were the true meaning of an atheist. It wasn't even funny. I forget, did your mom even know that? I know Meg did. Well they had your casket down at the end of the aisle where everyone would go to pay their last respects at the end of the ceremony. An open casket, too, would you believe. You didn't even like to have your picture taken; I doubt you would have appreciated everyone being able to see you in that state. Then that fat, old narrow-minded preacher came up and said a few 'blessings' over you in his scratchy, flaky voice. I almost started to giggle right there. Then Meg got up and said some things about how you were a great brother and role model, blah blah blah.

Then - now this really got me - our old English teacher came up with the principal of the school and ran a slideshow of pictures of you from the newspaper and the yearbook. These pictures made you into the model student. Always paying attention and listening to the teachers. If we, your friends, had done the slideshow, we would have included pictures of what you were really like: falling asleep in class, sticking gum on the undersides of the desks, going to the local club and pretending to be 21 just to see if you could get past the guard. If they let you through you would say you were doing an article for the school paper about the lack of security at the local bars and clubs. And the bouncer would go pale and ask you desperately not to tell his boss. It never got old.

After that they got your little cousin Sabrina (whose really does look like a Persian cat) to do this little dance thing in a leotard with her streamer wand. I know you absolutely despised her, and thought her dance class was the biggest joke in the history of humanity – and I quote: "A confused herd of goats hopping around on a stage". This made me crack up in the second pew. So I got up and had to walk out of the church. I stood on the front steps laughing until I cried. It was the first time I'd cried since it happened, and it was because I was laughing. Just perfect.

When I walked back in I could feel the eyes every person in the sanctuary boring into my back. But I couldn't wipe the small smirk from my face.

At the end of the whole thing, we all paid our respects and went to your house for the wake or whatever. How could you leave me to do this alone, with all these people coming up to me with these fake grievous expressions saying how sorry they were, that they knew how close we'd been. Your pervy old uncle, who I just found out has this hot 20-year-old girlfriend (don't ask me how he scored that one) came up to me and grabbed my arm and started to feel me up, all the time saying how awful it must have been, to lose someone so special. Your mom wouldn't talk to anyone except her girlfriends and Meg had disappeared. I can't say I blame them. Both those options sounded more appealing than what I was going through.

But I didn't want to get away to cry. I needed to get away to laugh. I mean, you could tell all these people would rather be elsewhere and the sad expressions plastered on their faces were just masks covering the fact that their minds were thinking about other things, like: was the casserole they'd put in the oven before coming burning to a crisp? Were Johnny and Lucy okay with the new babysitter? Was Bingo the dog still tied up in the backyard or had he gotten loose again?

I just couldn't help myself. So I rushed out of the house and stood on the stoop laughing and laughing and laughing until I thought I would never stop. I guess some would call it hysterics but I don't think that does it justice. If you could have seen everything, seen how much they'd botched it up, you would've been laughing until your eyes streamed. 'Cause you see? It was all just so damn hilarious.

Always Yours,

Helen