“I’m the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral, can’t understand what I mean? Well you soon will.”
Despite having a history of taking off my shirt, I also have a tendency of replacing grief with humor… and apparently, so does the rest of the Walsh family.
“So, Dan… please tell me you are finished with all of these BNL references…”
Well, not quite.
It’s been exactly ONE WEEK since I witnessed my father, Christopher Walsh in a coffin at the young age of 55.
There. Now I’m done, I promise (maybe).
As my mother, brother, sister and I lined up next to the casket for the never ending condolence train, we couldn’t help but discuss what was on all of our minds… My dead dad had stolen my shoes. Now, before you run away to your fallout shelter, let me clarify; He did not climb out of his death bed and swipe the sketchers from beneath my feet mid-service. It was all a misunderstanding, so put down the machete there Rick Grimes.
-Rewind to that morning (Wednesday, August 24th)-
“WHERE THE F#$% ARE MY DRESS SHOES!” I yelled, minutes before we were scheduled to leave for the funeral home. “THEY ARE ALWAYS RIGHT HERE! SOMEONE MUST HAVE BROKEN IN LAST NIGHT, BYPASSED ALL THE VALUABLES AND WENT STRAIGHT FOR MY DRESS SHOES.”
“You’re being ridiculous” muttered my mother.
“NO! WHAT WOULD BE RIDICULOUS WOULD BE IF DAD TOOK— wait… Tom, are you sure you gave the funeral home Dad’s shoes?”
He did not.
So, let’s revisit this shit-show excuse for a wake. My family is literally laughing with our dead father inches away from us while “Paradise City” By Guns N’ Roses blasted through the funeral home (yes they let me make a CD… pretty sweet right?). I am literally greeting my friends by saying “Thank you for coming… Oh and my dead dad stole my shoes.” That got quality looks of confusion.
Do not get me wrong, this is by far the saddest day of our lives. Our fathers passing was a complete surprise. Our whole family actually physically witnessed nurses unplug his life support… yet here we are, laughing at his funeral.
I hope this doesn’t seem disrespectful. We honestly believed that is how Chris would have wanted it; fun and relaxed with Axl Rose screeching in the background. He often joked if it was up to him, he would be buried in his tighty whiteys in our backyard with required laughter at the service (if there even was a service). At the time, we swore we could actually hear him saying “YOU ARE SPENDING HOW MUCH ON A DEAD PERSON? JUST TOSS ME IN THE WOODS.”
After the service, we then returned home with both close friends and family. Immediately, drinks began to flow and our favorite Chris Walsh stories began to fill the room. Laughter could not be contained… and neither could the Jameson.
One particular story was from only a few days ago. During the process of making the arrangements, Tom and I debated whether or not we should put a big black… uhmm let’s say it rhymes with ‘Bildo’ in my dad’s casket. Confused? Well, this was a topic of discussion when the funeral director told us “there is nothing you could put in his coffin that would surprise us… we’ve seen it all.” Tell me that wasn’t the perfect “challenge accepted” moment.
Even though we knew our dad would have gotten a kick out of it, we decided not to for the sake of our grandmother. Seeing that, would have resulted in us having to place her next to my father after she died of embarrassment. No Bueno.
(I have more… let’s say graphic stories that are not suited for the interweb. But if you want them feel free to ask me in person! There is no shame in my game).
Point being, during this whole week long process our family was able to muster up some genuine laughs. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
(Old pictures like this made the laughing come a little easier… TOGATOGATOGA).
Is this how normal people mourn? I really don’t know… but I hope it is. Of course we also cried, we are still crying and we will be for years to come. However, at the expense of sounding like a cheap/generic after school special, let me just say that laughter is truly the best medicine. You would never know how much humor can actually help you until you have faced a tragedy first hand.
So, do my family and my father in particular a favor… laugh. Grab your loved ones and laugh until you cry, then laugh some more.
Oh, and if you are still reading this, I did in fact get my shoes back. Even after some of my friends tried to convince me to just get a new pair and leave my dads body be.
But hey, I have a really hard time finding shoes that fit. Even IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS, there are basically zero triple wide’s being manufactured. Chris would understand.
And yes, I slipped in one more BNL reference, my apologies.
Maybe one day I’ll post a serious blog about this traumatic event… But that really wouldn’t be Chris’ style, or mine for that matter.
I love you dad and miss you with all my heart. We all do. And judging by the amount of people who attended your services, you were ONE HELL of a guy. Not just to us, but to everyone you came in contact with over your 55 amazing years on this planet. Just know, we will never stop laughing and it’s all because of you.
Thank you for everything pops.
RIP Christopher Michael Walsh
Loving father, husband, brother, jokester and all around great guy.
Until next time old man.