When planning my brother-in-law’s funeral with a woman at the funeral home (I don’t know if she is considered a funeral director or something else), my father-in-law decided to get a limousine for the immediate family members. The limo would take everyone from the funeral home to church, then to the cemetery, and finally back to the funeral home.
When we were told that the limo could hold seven people and we calculated there were eight people we wanted to get in, I was voted off limo-island, but the funeral home woman said I could ride in the hearse. After clarifying whether I’d be sitting in the front or laying in the back – she said the front – I asked if I could drive the hearse. While she never said “yes,” I think she said, “Um, sure,” and I know that she later told a co-worker that I would be driving.
Unfortunately that plan was canceled when it was decided that I should instead drive my car. This was necessary so that a few of us could make a mad dash to the house after the cemetery in order to beat the guests who would be arriving just behind us. But the good news is that I was third in line behind the hearse and limo, which is either the closest or second-closest I’ve ever been to the front of the line. One of the funeral home drivers gave me special instructions to follow the limo closely and not to stop at any traffic lights or stop signs, and told me the rest of the people would follow what I had done, so I felt empowered that way. I don’t know what people in the limo talked about, but I listened to the R.E.M. song “Belong” during the drive, mostly because it had been rumbling around in my head for a day or two.
After the cemetery I intended to keep the “Funeral” flag that they put on the top of your car so I could continue to run through stop signs and traffic lights, but with everything going on I forgot it, and someone had removed it from my car by the time I got back to it after the gravesite ceremony (maybe by someone else who had the same idea). I might see if you can buy those somewhere.
As they said in a soap opera some years ago, these are the days of our lives.
(Update: I asked if I could drive the limo to provide some comic relief, as everything was starting to feel pretty tense when the funeral home woman asked us to step into another room to look at caskets.)