Tuesday, April 03, 2007

no depression

Sunday, my dad and I finished cleaning out all the stuff from my grandmother's room. I can't even imagine what was going through his mind...he's not one to speak much about how he's feeling (neither am I, for that matter). I know he got a little choked up at various times since his mom passed away...when I met him and his brother from Houston in her hospital room so that we could say our goodbyes before they took her body...when he broke the news to my niece...at the funeral, then at the "celebration of life" (which was a very, very cool experience) at the facility where she lived...and as he was saying goodbye to my grandmother's caretaker - a noble soul, if ever I've met one - as we were carrying out the last load of stuff.

His two brothers live in Houston and Kansas so my dad bore virtually all the responsibility for anything that went on in my grandmother's life. Medical issues...mental issues like depression, anxiety/panic, fear, anger, frustration...financial concerns. He was her ambulance every time she had to be rushed to the emergency room, which happened with great frequency during the last year of her life. He was her psychological support whenever she needed it...again, quite frequently toward the end. If she had a problem with her TV or blinds or a lamp or whatever - even though that's what the staff where she lived was there for, at least in part - he usually dropped what he was doing to go take care of it. He told me the day after her funeral he caught himself turning north on I-35 toward her home rather than south toward his home out of sheer habit. I'm sure that hurt as well. He was a rock. I hope I can be there for my folks when it's necessary as unflinchingly as he was for his mom...all through her life. If I can be even slightly close to being as helpful to my folks as he was to his mom, I'll consider myself a success.

He and I talked a lot about funeral-related stuff on the trips to and from his home to her home. We share a total lack of understanding of or appreciation for the funeral industry. We'd both be perfectly happy if someone just took our corpses out into the wilderness so that the animals could feed on them. Or just tossed us into a dumpster or something. We're not going to be around, so who cares, right...? (In actuality, we're both donating our bodies to local hospitals / medical schools...decisions we both made independently before finding out the other had done the same.) And we talked about how neat the home's "celebration of life" ceremony was. Despite the cheesy name, it was the most sincere tribute to someone's life that I've ever witnessed...and beautiful in its simplicity.

As you might imagine, we also had plenty of humorous ideas for what could be done with our bodies at whatever service that might be held upon our passings. (These ideas were all assuming the medical institutions couldn't take us for whatever reason and some sort of "funeral" would have to be held.) I think my favorite was the idea of wrapping my corpse in that big, thick bubblewrap rather than being placed in a casket. Everybody loves bubblewrap, right? Folks could make their way past me, pop a few bubbles and giggle, then move on. And after all the bubbles are popped and I'm left just kinda Saran-Wrapped (would be nice if I were sealed for freshness in the afterlife), there would be a giant container of different colored Sharpies next to Deceased Danny. Everyone could sign me in the color of their choice like we used to sign our friends' casts when we were kids with all kinds of fun messages..."Take a left at The Light, Danny" or "Hope you were kissing heavenly ass on your way out, dude"...things of that nature.

Whatever happens, though, I'd like there to be a party in my honor (or what little honor I have left when the time comes). I'd like Amanda to book the music, of course. My first venue preference would be Trees, though that's probably not feasible. So I'd choose Club Dada instead. There would be free booze all night (guess I should start putting away money for all this), women would be encouraged to give my carcass a flash as they pass by (since they won't fucking do it while I'm alive), and my favorite music would be played in between bands. Speaking of which, TheManda, here's who I'd like to play Danny's Last Stand, were it to happen in the very near future (and these are all either Texas artists or artists who frequent the area enough for an extra gig at Dada to not be too out of the way)...

Meat Puppets
Bobby Bare, Jr.
Starlight Mints
Trish Murphy
Doug Burr
The Sword
Baptist Generals

Now, if you could fit my favoriteist band in the world, Biffy Clyro, on the bill, that would be beyond fantastic. But seeing as how they're based in Scotland and don't play the U.S. that often, I'm not holding my breath for that. Though, I guess there won't be any breath for me to hold that night, anyway.

Wendy, you would be in charge of getting some nifty art (you know my tastes) on display for the proceedings - including all the cards you've ever sent me (you'll find them on display throughout my apartment). Valerie, you would be in charge of putting the between-set music together and making sure everyone gets properly drunk or otherwise inebriated in whichever methods they prefer.

I'm still waiting for the reality of my grandmother's passing to set in. Maybe it will take a while longer. Or maybe this is the reality and I'm as emotionally numb as I fear I may be. At any rate, and despite my atheistic tendencies, I find myself taking great comfort from this...courtesy the Carter Family by way of the late, great Uncle Tupelo...

I'm going where there's no depression
To a better land that's free from care
I'll leave this world of toil and trouble
My home's in heaven...I'm going there

My family, in spite of some serious religious, political and philosophical differences, has a generosity in common amongst us all that I think originated with my grandmother. That's a pretty impressive legacy, to my mind. And she was a good person, which, as I know I've stated somewhere before, is the highest human compliment I think any of us can hope to be paid on this earth. I hope the chorus above is something close to the truth for my grandmother now. She deserved at least that much.

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