I need to work on preparing my speech for my father’s funeral. I consider writing this blogpost to be a wisely chosen preparation.
As part of my speech for his funeral, I will read a passage from the funeral instructions he left me, which I think he might have originally written to me in an email. I have translated it here for you and will tell you beforehand that he lived in on the second floor of an apartment building across from a small park.
5AM. When the sun gets up, there is such a noise in the park, like joy that the light has returned and the world no longer must lie in darkness! Such a screaming, cheering by the wonder of the world, the wonder of God, the wonder of the creating universe, the wonder of creation or whatever it is – every morning! Those birds, ducks and swans, must have unusually short memories, if they forgot that the sun rises every morning, yesterday like today, like they don’t take it for granted but start their cheering choir, just because the sun is rising again! That is for shure a wonder, we all should take joy in. That the light comes back after a dark and dangerous night and that there became light in the first place so we don’t have to live in darkness. Other planets lie in total darkness all the time. It is for sure a blessing to all the creatures on earth and a daily wonder that the sun rises again. The birds honour it and remind me of the wonder of being alive and to live in light every day. Think then, if every bird had a soul like us, that takes joy in every morning with it and makes it sing so beautifully. It really makes it worthwhile to get up every morning.
I might comment on that piece of text later.
Yesterday I was at the graveyard to choose a spot for his grave, at the headstoneshop for a headstone and at my father’s apartment to find the clothes he is to be cremated in. I found a dusted green TENSON-shirt and a pair of white slacks. I will myself be wearing a pair of white Levi’s 501 and an expensive green shirt I bought at a fancy department store the day after the night he died.
He will be buried next to a person with a funny name. There is a tree one can lean against when one visits his grave. It is like he wanted it, under a tree and also, like he also wanted it, with a view of a tree, he could draw. I can draw. And become a part of him.
I am presently testing a writing technique where I first write what I want to say in my mother tongue, and afterwards translate it into English. I thus think and edit these thoughts in a non-English language. Then I translate them into English and edit them in Englihs afterwards. It’s interesting — when I was in New York last spring, people were so sure that what I write is good because I am a foreigner. “What do you mean by writing?” — “I mean committing words to letters.” “Oh my God.”
I am by the way eating something you would probably think was disgusting if I told you what it was. But it is too local a dish that I will risk telling you about it.
I also chose yesterday which of the two halls of the chapel the ceremony will take place in. My father only wrote that he wanted it to take place in that chapel. Because it is beautiful. And it is.
He is dead.
Now I have to write what I want to say. I have arranged for some of my friends who have a string quartet to come and play some Bach and a friend of my girlfriend’s who is an opera singer will sing Schubert’s Ave Maria:
And to top it off, a short account of what happened yesterday at the headstoneshop with the mason:
Hello. Hello. Were you the one that called earlier? Yes. What can I do for you? I need a headstone. My father just died. Yes. Come inside. I wanted to give the mason the instructions from the graveyard office on the demands for the measurements and so forth for the headstone, but he wanted another recipt instead, where it said the coordinates and department I had chosen for him, and signatures to prove the deal was done. Section 30, 11C, he said. I have three different left. We went over to the stones. I chose one which was from a neighbouring country, and which my father’s biological family far out into the links is from. But I chose it because of the surface which was more beautiful than the others’. The mason said: Yeah, that’s the nicest one. I am unsure whether he was consciously manipulating me into liking the stone.
I want the typefont to be Helvetica Oblique because that was how he typesat his emails, apart from their being blue which I don’t think is allowed on that part of the graveyard (where all the headstones lie flat on the ground).
Humans walk to meet their death.
There is a tree to lean on when I visit.
I will ask my girlfriend if she wants to come to New York in the fall, when she finishes her master’s. I will probably go before her.
Coming up: My speech at his funeral.