Yesterday afternoon saw a funeral chapel full to bursting with family, friends and co-workers of my former roommate. I don't think I've been to one since my grandfather passed away when I was 14. (After I got home, my wife commented that it's going to start happening more frequently now.) I sat near the back, in one of the only remaining empty spaces on the pews, and just saw the coffin from there. I viewed Dean up close as we were filing out after the service and marveled at how unearthly he looked. No expression on his face and coloured by makeup; somewhat surreal.
There were tears and laughter during the service, as it feels it ought to be. A family friend spoke for about 20 minutes about his life. She mentioned that during a recent vacation down to Mexico, Dean had acquired the nickname, 'The Rotten Banana'. This elicited laughter from a small group of friends who obviously knew what this meant. The rest of the congregation sat there in some ignorance.
More was made known during the photo-memorial slide show. Dean was shown in stages from an infant right through to pictures taken no more than a couple weeks ago. A couple of the more recent pics showed him on vacation in Mexico where he was frequently sporting a dread-locked Rastafarian wig. This is where he got the nickname. It looked rather strange to see a bald Chinese man sporting that sort of headgear. Hence the nickname of The Rotten Banana: yellow on the outside, black on the inside. Made me laugh.
What made me laugh even louder happened after the service. Several of the latter photos had Dean posing for the camera with one or both hands formed into the 'Shocker'.
After the service, when we were all milling about, several of my co-workers' wives expressed a certain amount of curiosity as to the significance of that. A discrete explanation widened a few eyes and had one fella comment to another, "Well, instead of telling your wife, why didn't you just show her?" 'Nuff said.
There was no funeral, since he's going to be cremated. So after the service and the reception that was held to share final memories and reconnect with each other, everybody just started to trickle out and return to their regularly scheduled lives.
I felt a greater-than-average sense of contentedness when I returned home just after 6 PM to a house full of my wife, son, mum-in-law and niece. (The latter two visiting for the weekend.) I really, really enjoyed the feeling I got when my son scampered across the living room floor to where I was standing at the front door, clawed his way up to a standing position by grasping my pant-legs, and then looked up at me expectantly until I picked him up for a big hug.