In not so pleasant news, my boss’ father died this week, so today Brianne and I went to the viewing in support of my boss and his family. I’ve only ever been to one Italian wake before and I thought that it might have just been an isolated incident. Aparently I was wrong. In the past, when I’ve been to other wakes for family, it’s been a chance to remember and celebrate the life of our departed. It’s been a chance to talk to those distant friends of the family that have at least one shining memory of your loved one to cheer you up. I’ve never been to an Irish wake, but I’ve heard that if you leave sober you’re driving or you’ve drunken yourself to that state.

     The Italians have a very different approach to the viewing. They sit and face the usually open casket. The room is usually dimly lit, but brightened by the barrage of flowery bouquets. The room is a contrastingly quiet one, with a sort of reception line in the front row for everyone who are closest relatives.

     For me, it helps to walk and talk. I get along better that way. The Italian viewing situation makes me feel very nervous and awkward, as if I’m not awkward enough in such a situation. I can never find the words fast enough because I’m so worried that I’m going to say the wrong thing. Maybe that’s okay though. Maybe it’s good for me to not be too comfortable in that type of a situation. I’m young, I don’t aspire to become a funeral director, and I can walk around the room with a smile on my face (no teeth!) which might, maybe make people a little happier. Maybe they’ll think that I’m thinking my happiest memory of their loved one, so it’ll make them think of one too and sport their very own happier grin.

     The main reason that I’ve been thinking about it is that I feel that I’ve been so impersonal, but I was helpless to be impersonal. I wanted to give Tony a big hug because he looked like he needed it and I wanted to talk to Rebecca, his daughter, because I’ve never met her, and although the circumstances suck, it still would have been nice to talk to someone rather than just shake hands and walk on. I wish Maxine was there, I wanted to make sure she’s doing okay.

     I’m going to sleep.

Author: Ian

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