TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER
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After the wet cool Irish summertime, San Diego's arid heat overwhelms me. At times I want to barf, nearly faint and enervated, squeezed of energy and emotion. I have to remind myself to drink water. To rest. To keep from recalling something Dad would have done at a given moment.
Organising Dad's affairs and stuff does not help. With imaginative secrecy, he maintained multiple email accounts, an Ebay account with 5000 items on sale, too many credit cards, a garage stuffed with useless, used computer parts and a gazillion boxes of invoices and post from the last 20 years. How did this disorder remain unnoticed for so long?
At least we're distracted, Mom says. While the shock abates, the grief does not. Eat, I urge Mom; before we arrived, she was subsisting on protein powder and lactose-free milk. //
The funeral is Saturday week. Coming from all over the United States are Dad's Khmer navy buddies, relatives from Portland and Seattle and Long Beach, the former refugees he had adopted and brought over to America, all the people whose lives he had positively impacted over the decades. The funeral costs 10,000 dollars, Mom said, They bring us to the funeral home in a limousine. Only the best for Daddy.
The funeral home requested pictures to use in a DVD they will project during the reposal and funeral. Mom wants to use Dad's Khmer passport photo first in the DVD, in which he looks impossibly young. The passport was issued this day in 1974. The start of his life, she says, No, I mean his start of his life as an American.
I have to make a speech. I don't know what to say. I want to say so, so much. //
Maybe I will say, even though Dad was no longer Buddhist when he died, that this is only the beginning of his next life, in a place where he needs no passport.