Our memory can be a tricky thing; we don’t seem to have any control on what our brains choose to keep stored and what it lets go of. When I remember the time before Len’s funeral, my first memory of my siblings being home is our Mom and the three of us sitting at my kitchen table and laughing. I can’t remember who picked them up at the airport or exactly when they arrived at my place. When I really try to remember all that happened during that week, what I recall the most is laughter. When I say laughter I mean roll on the floor, hold your sides, milk out the nose laughter.
As I was saying the four of us are at the table, talking about what ?? I have no idea but more then likely Len. The phone rings and we all look at each other cause this is a good thing. It means that Len’s body has finally arrived home. And now we can finally get the funeral details arranged. We all have ideas for the funeral and through it all we are trying very hard to respect what we think Len would have wanted. It is hard because we know how much Len hated funerals. To the point that Len and I would argue about his refusal to attend anybody’s funeral. I would try to convince him go for the family. But nothing worked and he never went to anyone’s funeral. So when the phone rings I am thinking all right I win, he’s going to this funeral! My Mom is looking hopeful as the phone rings as she really wants to see him one more time and say goodbye.
I answer the phone and it is a good friend of my father’s, she is very upset and at first I am not sure just what she is talking about. I ask her to repeat what she is saying over and over till I can absorb it all. Finally I tell her I have to call her back. Everyone is looking at me, by this time my husband, kids and brothers girlfriend have all come into the kitchen looking at me expectantly. I take a deep breath and just go for it. “It seems the funeral home went to the airport to pick up Len as scheduled but there was some confusion. And for what ever reason Len was not on the plane”. My mother makes moaning sounds and everyone else is talking at once. “Where is he, what happened, how can they lose him, he’s a big guy?” I try to explain, at this point Guatemala says he went on the plane, the airlines paperwork says he is on the plane but when the plane landed there was no Len. In otherwards Len is LOST.
Now you would think in most families this type of situation would send someone over the edge so to speak. And for us we are not very different it is just that the edge we went over was uncontrollable laughter. The comments and wisecracks start to fly, “that boy is never on time for anything”, “wont even go to his own funeral for crying out loud”, “even dead and he won’t ask for directions”, “well enough is enough we will just have the funeral without him”. And we start serious funeral planning, he can come if he wants!