A Canary at a Funernal

A Canary at a Funernal

When is the appropriate time to delete a deceased person off your phone book? How soon is too soon? The funeral is tomorrow and I just deleted it 5 minutes ago. It didn't feel wrong or anything, nor did it feel right.

My dad's best friend passed away recently and for some reason I am not as sympathetic as I thought I would be. I am honestly not trying to be insensitive or selfish in any way, I really adored the guy. He had the most hazel eyes, Iranian, and a face you couldn't shy from. His wife, Emma is the reason I consider I love baking--

We were somewhere under the age of 5, Bijan and I were standing on a step stool while Emma, his mom, showed us how to bake cupcakes in the rustic wood 90's kitchen of . I was incredibly fascinated by the sprinkles. The way we must measure the batter into the little metal cups left me unable to stop grinning. From the very beginning baking was like a science to me (and it is science!).

--but it's been years since I've seen him or his family, so there is not much attachment other than unforgettable memories. And I really mean unforgettable. My parents were not very out-going so my brother and I didn't really get to do the typical family things, camping, sledding, boating, fishing, etc. But when we did any of those things (and just that one time), it was planned by my dad's best friend.

My mom called me this morning to tell me what she planned on cooking for the service. Among the long list of dishes, halva was one of them and I think I'd like to try to make that myself one day. She then wants to read me her eulogy.

and then I will tell them how I met Morey. Do you know how we met?

no. how?

you weren't born yet, it was 1987 and we just moved to the Concord house. your father introduced us briefly, and then invited him to our housewarming party. Mort asked me what we needed (as a gift). I told him nothing, just bring your family, it's not a big deal. he showed up to the party with his family and a box with a handle on it.

(my thoughts) A handle?

yes a thin metal handle. he covered the box with a piece of white linen.

(my thoughts) oh my god.

and I thought how silly it was, he brought a present but didn't wrap it.

The canary.

When I was young, maybe I was 6, we had a canary for as long as I could remember, meaning it was in our family for years. It was in a brass wire cage with newspaper lining, sitting in the family room where we rarely used. We noticed the canary looking awfully tired, falling asleep every few minutes, and at times, fall off the rod. Poor guy. My parents didn't know what to do, so they took him to the vet. They took a canary to the vet, people.

Little did I know, or did Mort know, that he brought something sentimental in our lives. After that canary, my mom went out and bought another one. then two more. then three. years later, she was breeding them in a walk in bird house in the back yard. Our family was always surrounded by birds. Canaries, finches, parakeets, love birds, and cockatiels.

I cried a little when she revealed that to me, but not enough for her to know. We disconnected the call, and all my Friday plans went out the fucking window. Three hours later, I came home with a canary from a Bosnian man's backyard, one I found on Craigslist. What have I done? A gift to Emma and Bijan? A canary? A way to have Mort be with them always? I don't know what I was thinking but I felt right about it. A thank you gift to Mort for being in our lives?

Maybe I am not a sentimental person. Not anymore at least. I used to be really nice when I was a kid, as a teenager too, but others told me I was too nice, too much. Maybe that reduced me. Or maybe it was because no one close to me has died. Mort would have been the closest I think, but I can't feel sad about it. I remember when my mom told me my "uncle" (another one of my dad's best friend) died of a cocaine overdose. She told me the funeral was the past weekend where she had me sleep over a friends house. It didn't really hit me what she meant, because death was still a new thing to me in my adolescence years. I didn't realized the experienced I missed out on until we went to a wake a week after the funeral (keep in my mind I dressed myself and wore overalls and a red/yellow stripped top), and I saw the funeral playback on the big tv in the big room. I was robbed of my first chance to experience the loss of a loved one and I really did love my "uncle." I don't blame my mom, she thought she was protecting me.

Since then, deaths haven't effected me in anyway and sometimes I wish it would. Not being compassionate for others is the equivalent of being a horrible person, or so I think. But then I got the canary. I took it to my mom's with no notice and she didn't know what to say except for, "I've never seen a bird at a funeral before." My mom, my husband and I looked down at the bird cage on the ground in awkward silence wondering what it would be like to see a canary at a funeral.


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