Back From the Boston Funeral...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 18, 2016 4:05 PM GMT
    ...of my husband's older brother over the weekend. I'm not familiar enough with elaborate Italian funerals, except for the versions I've seen in movies, to know if this one was typical. But my husband tells me it was.

    Most importantly for me was that he got through it pretty well, as did his sister, who traveled with us from Fort Lauderdale and back. It was more physically draining than emotional for them, from what I observed, since for 3 days we had to be awake by 5 AM, and were going non-stop at a hectic pace until night, and they're both in their 80s. I realized afterwards we never saw any TV, even in the hotel room, didn't so much as turn the set on, nor read a newspaper the whole time.

    The entire family, my husband and his sister told me, kept remarking how surprised and grateful they all were that nobody started any shouting matches or disputes. All on best behavior, over 100 "close" relatives, and something around 1000 others who visited the funeral home for the wake, most of them Italians, too.

    The deceased was very well known & respected. During the cortege to the cemetery we passed by police stations where the officers lined up along the curb to salute, and likewise when we passed fire stations, the firefighters saluting at attention on the curb wearing their equipment with helmets.

    A police department bagpiper also accompanied the casket whenever it was carried outdoors by the pallbearers, that included 4 grandsons. Who drove in one of their late grandfather's classic convertibles (he collected old cars), top down in 40-degree weather, ahead of the hearse in the procession from the church to the cemetery.

    After the Friday wake I went with select family to an Italian restaurant (where else?), and we had a pleasant, even fun time. Then following the Catholic service and the interment Saturday there was a huge afternoon reception at the Sons of Italy Hall.

    That not being enough food for one day, later than night at 8 we went with select family (grandkids & nieces/nephews) to another Italian restaurant, where we actually had a raucously fun time.

    The 3 of us from Fort Lauderdale sat at the head of the long table, because the surviving brother & sister are now the oldest in the family and hence the honorary heads.

    So that what also impressed me was how respectfully I was accepted & treated by everyone. I was included with the immediate family at all times. For instance in family photos taken at the reception. And in the church seating and cortege vehicle order.

    I felt like the character "Kay" at the wedding in the first "Godfather" movie. LOL! And I believe everyone knows their "Uncle Carmine" is gay, and I'm his male partner. Didn't seem to bother this Catholic Italian family at all, at least to our faces. Perhaps because the late patriarch was always very kind to me, letting me stay at his house, lending me his cars when I visited Boston, always inviting us to his home and to dinner during his Fort Lauderdale stays.

    Now I gotta watch my husband, for an emotional crash in the days following. And physical, quite an ordeal for him. But bottom line, this went better than we had feared. And his brother got a send-off that pleased my husband, so all is well.
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    Apr 18, 2016 4:40 PM GMT
    By the way, we also made the fundraiser banquet yesterday (Sunday), almost literally right off the plane for Boston. Arrived home at 4 PM, giving us enough time to freshen up, change clothes, and be at the banquet at 4:58, a whole 2 minutes "early". LOL! That thing ran into the night. So after a 5 AM start once again, our day didn't end until nearly 10.

    He was really concerned about that banquet. Since he's been the sole planner of the thing for months. And then his brother dies and he had to run off to Boston.

    But everything seems to have gone off OK. We really need a break, some kind of vacation. Neither of us can keep this up. icon_sad.gif
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    Apr 18, 2016 4:45 PM GMT
    I'm glad everything went well. You should definitely plan something to help him relax and let go of the stress. How about starting off with a couple's massage or a spa retreat?
  • Destinharbor

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    Apr 18, 2016 4:53 PM GMT
    Back to Key West!
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    Apr 18, 2016 7:09 PM GMT
    PhoenixNYC saidI'm glad everything went well. You should definitely plan something to help him relax and let go of the stress. How about starting off with a couple's massage or a spa retreat?

    Both of us think the same thing. But not to Key West, as Destinharbor suggests. We want simpler.

    There's several gay guest houses right here in Wilton Manors. We already have several days we're due at one of them, based on a silent auction we won some months ago.

    And last night we won another one at the same place. For just $30. I know how to play the silent auction game. The irony is that it was us who got the gay guest house owners, whom we know, to donate the gifts.

    Combined together, we could get away for nearly a week. I had already seen that as our "decompression" after the funeral.

    But... timing. We were already scheduled to take our elderly neighbor to a blood draw tomorrow (Tue). And then for another medical appointment on Friday. So our getaway has to wait.

    But it gets "better". Just as we were going out to lunch today she pounds on our door. She's suddenly lost her hearing. She thought her TV sound had failed, So she called Comast cable, who sent out a repair guy who mucked with her cable box, that also serves her land line phones.

    Now she has no phone service, and she THOUGHT her TV sound was out, too. I walk in and the TV is blaring. And I have to scream at her to make her hear me. But her phones are now dead.

    OK, later today I must return and use my own cell phone, with her at my side, and rely this to her primary doctor. Perhaps get a referral to an audiologist . Or maybe she has a serious medical issue. Her gay son, sho lives nearby, refuses to answer her calls and help her.

    I've had enough of this, going on for months. I'm gonna call social services, and ask for assistance, if not dial 911 as an emergency. And report her son for elderly abuse.

    If she's not better when we return in an hour, I may tell 911 she's disoriented, and let them sort it out. This is becoming more than I can handle.
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    Apr 18, 2016 9:14 PM GMT
    I did call 911. Besides the possibility of a stroke or TIA, her doctors were already concerned about diabetes, which can cause similar symptoms during an episode. In fact, we're scheduled to take her for a diabetes blood test tomorrow.

    By the time I decided to phone 911, and the EMT arrived, she was coming around. She showed no signs of stroke (I was standing right there, advising the EMT on her recent history). And her blood finger prick didn't indicate a sugar problem, although the EMT say she might have had one.

    So she stays at home for now. They can't explain her sudden near-deafness. We'll take her for her scheduled diabetes blood draw tomorrow. And I'll also schedule a primary care appointment for her. Since her phones are out, and she can't hear them anyway. I put her TV on Closed Captions, until she can hear the thing, if ever.

    We come back from the Boston funeral ordeal, and this is what welcomes us. I'm running out of steam, I really am. icon_sad.gif
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    Apr 18, 2016 9:22 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said... I'm running out of steam, I really am...
    loosing any family member is a great loss so get ready; your partners grieving process is a personal thing and might last longer than anticipated.
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    Apr 18, 2016 10:08 PM GMT
    pellaz said
    Art_Deco said... I'm running out of steam, I really am...
    losing any family member is a great loss so get ready; your partners grieving process is a personal thing and might last longer than anticipated.

    True. That's why I try to run interference for him, blocking all the hits coming his way.

    I paid for special extra-room seating for him, since he's a "full figured" girl - LOL! I simply wouldn't allow him to be squeezed into economy seats. And I had a wheelchair waiting for him at the airport, both going & coming. Walking the length of a hard-floor terminal was out of the question, with his recent foot problems.

    And I got us expedited TSA checking, to spare him that ordeal, as well. I try to anticipate and think of everything. He merely had to stand up briefly, for a manual wand pass and an easy pat-down. Since he has a metallic hip replacement that won't clear a metal walk-through gate.

    And honestly my own TSA check was the quickest and easiest ever, also expedited with his. Neither of us had to take off our shoes, our belts, or do a body scan, just empty our pockets. It was so fast I could barely keep up with it. I was fumbling to put myself together and get out of the way, like an assembly line.

    But the grieving he may have that you mention... that's not a mechanical & procedural thing I can solve. I wish I could, I let him down. I try to figure other ways I can help him.

    But all my logic lacks the one thing he needs at a time like this - human compassion. So my half-assed solution is to employ others who have the expression of compassion that I lack. I wish I were a whole person in this regard, but I'm not. icon_sad.gif
  • interestingch...

    Posts: 694

    Apr 18, 2016 11:17 PM GMT
    I am glad it went as well as can be expected for you both, not a nice situation but unfortunately thats life and we all go through these things, I give you both my best wishes and hope for the future
  • Import

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    Apr 18, 2016 11:51 PM GMT
    I have a love hate relationship with Boston.

    It's always fucking cold when I visit. I usually visit outsidr the months of June July and August, but fuckin Christ.... It's ALWAYS cold. I've been there prob like 6 times the past 2 years and it's been unbearably frigid.,... granted, it's a pretty cool city, but sometimes, im like icon_rolleyes.gif when I have to go there.

    Glad the funeral came and went and everything is ok.
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    Apr 19, 2016 3:05 AM GMT
    Import saidI have a love hate relationship with Boston.

    It's always fucking cold when I visit. I usually visit outsidr the months of June July and August, but fuckin Christ.... It's ALWAYS cold. I've been there prob like 6 times the past 2 years and it's been unbearably frigid.,... granted, it's a pretty cool city, but sometimes, im like icon_rolleyes.gif when I have to go there.

    Glad the funeral came and went and everything is ok.

    Thanks. Yeah, it was damn cold while we were there. At least sunny with no rain.

    My husband also has a love-hate relationship with Boston. It's his hometown. He says he'd move back there in a heartbeat, IF it had a climate like South Florida.

    Well, it won't in our lifetimes, until a few decades later with global warming. When our South Florida will be mostly underwater and have become as hot as the Sahara. But in the short term, OUR short term, no. We'll leave Boston to its own cold self.
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    Apr 19, 2016 3:40 AM GMT
    interestingchap saidI am glad it went as well as can be expected for you both, not a nice situation but unfortunately thats life and we all go through these things, I give you both my best wishes and hope for the future

    Appreciative thoughts, and thank you. Yeah, I've been through this myself more times than I'd like. The older you get the more of these you rack up. Until your own turn comes. Which in my philosophy I gratefully won't have to know anything about.

    But honestly I thought everyone there handled it well. From the late brother's son down. He'd been failing for about 2 years, so that the family had adequate time to prepare themselves. Including his brother, my husband.

    And the family's acceptance of me spared my husband a great deal of additional stress me might have had. Being worried about that issue, I had offered to stay behind, letting him fly up to Boston with his sister, with whom he's very close. I could also have continued working on the Sunday banquet he'd been planning for months, giving him further peace of mind.

    But he said flatly he wouldn't attend the funeral without me at his side, and I couldn't dissuade him. OK, so I'm going, despite my misgivings.

    Fortunately his family was more than accepting of me, as I've said. I give them great credit for that, because they're otherwise very much "old school" Catholic Italian.

    You can imagine my trepidation. But my first concern is my husband, not myself. I can weather any storm, tolerate in silence any slights for his sake. I merely worried that the tempest might engulf him. Because he's a lot more emotional that I am, and this is his Italian family, a potentially volatile situation.

    Anyway, it worked out. We're back home now. And his banquet was a success, that we were able to attend with (literally) 2 minutes to spare. Everyone was astonished we managed to be there.

    Hence he's happy, making me happy. Now I've gotta watch him for the next few days as he "decompresses".

    I made reservations today at a local gay guesthouse, owned by guys we know. Too stressful to travel to Key West, our favorite, we're just gonna chill out right here. Within walking distance of where we live (at least for me).

    I'll seize his iPhone & iPad, we're gonna be incommunicado for several days. He needs this. When you live with a guy for 9 years you learn to read the signs. And know the solution. icon_wink.gif
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    Apr 19, 2016 6:13 AM GMT
    Meanwhile, I have to comment:

    WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???

    We get home late Sunday night, after being awake since before 5 AM, flying from Boston to Fort Lauderdale, and then racing to attend a scheduled banquet. Our plan was to sleep all morning Monday.

    At 7:15 AM the phone rings. It's one of his Boston Lesbian friends, calling to apologize for having missed his brother's funeral. Couldn't that have *ucking waited? Did it HAVE to be at 7 in the morning?

    So we try to get back to sleep, and the phone rings a few minutes later. ANOTHER Boston Lesbian friend wants to offer her condolences, and apologize for missing the funeral.

    Don't any of these women have a clock or something that tells the time? Do they all get up at dawn, and assume everyone else does, too? Was this so urgent it couldn't wait?

    He managed to get back to sleep, but I couldn't. Now I've gone, contradictorily, into insomnia. Typical for me when my sleep pattern is disrupted.

    I'd like to think I'll be able to sleep in tomorrow, but I know someone will again feel the need to ring us at 7 or 8. I could turn off the cell phones, but most of our friends know the house phone numbers, too, and I'm not sure how to mute them all.

    Plus we can't sleep too late, we've gotta take our 90-year-old neighbor, for whom I called 911 today, for a scheduled blood draw to check for diabetes. Her dead-beat son, who lives nearby, refuses to even answer her calls, much less help her, so we get stuck with it.

    We really just need to run away from all this. Our lives are increasingly dictated by others, and that's not how it's supposed to be at our ages. icon_sad.gif

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    Apr 19, 2016 4:13 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    Hence he's happy, making me happy. Now I've gotta watch him for the next few days as he "decompresses".

    I made reservations today at a local gay guesthouse, owned by guys we know. Too stressful to travel to Key West, our favorite, we're just gonna chill out right here. Within walking distance of where we live (at least for me).

    I'll seize his iPhone & iPad, we're gonna be incommunicado for several days. He needs this. When you live with a guy for 9 years you learn to read the signs. And know the solution. icon_wink.gif

    Or so I thought. Late yesterday he phoned the gay resort owner and cancelled my reservations, delaying them about a week or 2.

    "I promised my sister while we were up in Boston that I'd make desserts for the college graduation reception of one of her music students. And we'll be attending it that weekend in Boca." (Boca Raton, Florida)

    Nice he told ME about it. "Well, you were in the same room while we discussed it." Yeah, but I don't make a habit of eavesdropping on conversations to which I'm not invited. And his opera-singer sister, ditzy as ever, thinks everything revolves around her. No concern for her older brother's age & health. If SHE feels OK, then HE feels OK.

    And I said for when did you reschedule? "In about 2 weeks, but I have all these obligations until then." ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!

    Those "obligations" are exactly what I'm trying to stop. He needs a rest after Boston right NOW, not some time in May. He thinks he's not stressed, but I know him. He needs to decompress TODAY, not in a month. By then it won't make any difference, a waste of time.

    But arguing with him only makes it worse. I'm ready to just cancel the whole damn thing and save the money. We just spent several thousand dollars of my money on his brother's funeral. And less than 2 weeks before I bought him a new computer for nearly $2000 when his broke. Paid the property taxes for another $900, had the central A/C fixed, and had a leaking kitchen sink replaced. On top of our typical $4000 monthly expenses.

    He seems to think I'm made of cash, but I'm not. I've been hemorrhaging money the last 4 weeks. This getaway was for him to unwind, so he wouldn't have another stroke or heart attack. Instead, I think I'm the one who's the next candidate for one of those. icon_sad.gif
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    Apr 21, 2016 3:39 AM GMT
    Well, I discussed this with a close friend of ours here today. And he agrees my husband is showing stress and needs to disengage for a while. He needs this getaway I had planned, simple & short though it may be.

    But he can't advise me how to do it. My husband's a "stubborn Guinea" as he calls himself.

    Well, sorry, I don't use ethnic slurs myself. And I don't accept that cop-out, either. He can think he's an Italian "Guinea" all he likes, but I'm not having any of it.

    His stubbornness, excused by any term he wishes, is just a challenge for me. I can't bully him into it, cause that'll make things worse. So I've gotta finesse him, and maybe sabotage some of his conflicting plans.

    I hate to take that low road. But if he's gonna be so uncooperative and self-destructive, I'll take that chance.

    I don't wanna lose this guy. I've lost one partner already, that sent me into some kinda shock thing, which required the invention of gay friends to bring me back. I'm not sure I could survive a second loss.

    Plus I simply love the guy. I can't let him keep endangering his life. His own doctors have told me as much. They've advised me what he's gotta do. What they can't tell me is how I make it happen. I simply don't have that skill set. That's what ripping me apart. icon_sad.gif
  • Cutlass

    Posts: 426

    Apr 24, 2016 4:47 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidWell, I discussed this with a close friend of ours here today. And he agrees my husband is showing stress and needs to disengage for a while. He needs this getaway I had planned, simple & short though it may be.

    But he can't advise me how to do it. My husband's a "stubborn Guinea" as he calls himself.

    Well, sorry, I don't use ethnic slurs myself. And I don't accept that cop-out, either. He can think he's an Italian "Guinea" all he likes, but I'm not having any of it.

    His stubbornness, excused by any term he wishes, is just a challenge for me. I can't bully him into it, cause that'll make things worse. So I've gotta finesse him, and maybe sabotage some of his conflicting plans.

    I hate to take that low road. But if he's gonna be so uncooperative and self-destructive, I'll take that chance.

    I don't wanna lose this guy. I've lost one partner already, that sent me into some kinda shock thing, which required the invention of gay friends to bring me back. I'm not sure I could survive a second loss.

    Plus I simply love the guy. I can't let him keep endangering his life. His own doctors have told me as much. They've advised me what he's gotta do. What they can't tell me is how I make it happen. I simply don't have that skill set. That's what ripping me apart. icon_sad.gif


    So much going on one after another. After that busy Italian funeral, I thought you would be able to relax and get back to normal. But no, one thing leads to another. My condolences. I hope you manage to stay on track.