The family was all in pain, coping with more than one tragedy. So much loss.
The moment we were all in the room at the funeral home where the coffin was briefly opened was a moment I’d never ever forget. That moment, in that room with all of us felt like there were no secrets. None.
Seeing the man there, looking like he always did, in a suit, perfectly groomed, with one difference. His salt and pepper hair was combed differently in an attempt to partially hide the damage the bullet did to his forehead. The efforts failed. Likely why his casket had been closed.
I couldn’t be sure, but it was as if, in that moment, everyone in the room knew who put that bullet there.
No words were spoken. I don’t even think anyone breathed. I couldn’t tear my eyes off Tom’s body until a split second before the funeral director came back in. My eyes skimmed the faces of them all and in a split second I read something from each of them.
That’s what I read from each of them other than Tommy.
Tommy stared at the face of his father with something stone-cold.
They held a small ceremony with just us around Tom’s grave site and the pain was a living and breathing thing for all the Ferrano siblings. It was so quiet, every one of them in their own heads. Lisa stood there, so beautiful and so pale, just staring at the coffin.
Tessa looked like she wanted to scream the whole time. It was very unsettling.
I was feeling things, too, and not just because of feeling bad for Tommy. I was also at the very cemetery my mom was laid to rest at.
I didn’t go to the mausoleum, despite knowing my mom’s urn was there. I didn’t like that she and Tom Ferrano had their remains resting in the same cemetery at all, but didn’t say anything. What good would it do to speak of it?
Tom was buried next to Tommy’s mother, which had to hurt for Lisa. Didn’t it? There were more places available in the Ferrano family plot. Would she be buried there in sixty or seventy years? Or, would she marry again? She was so young.
We then had a Celebration of Life dinner in Tom’s honor with his friends and business associates. People traveled in from around the country as well as from overseas for the funeral and had all been at the banquet hall while we attended the interment.
It wasn’t easy on Tommy or on Dario. There were many business associates from around the world who had come. Tommy, me, Dare, and the girls all stood in a receiving line and greeted hundreds of people.
At the funeral, Tommy and Dario both delivered eulogies about their father. Tommy toiled over his. I saw him struggling. He refused to let me read it, tearing up the paper he was writing it on when I offered, stating he didn’t need to write it down after all.
“You could skip it?”
He shook his head. “Absolutely not. It’s expected. I’ll figure it out when I get there.”
He did just fine at the service. He spoke about his father’s business savvy, about how his father and his father’s best friend built a very successful business from scratch, with nothing but a few dollars between them. About how much loyalty and time with loved ones was important to him. Tommy talked about how much Tom would have enjoyed attending the celebration, due to the turn out and the amount of food that his loved ones had cooked for the meal. His favorites. Tommy listed off several of them and told side-stories of family arguments over who made the best lasagna, the best tiramisu. And then he actually joked that his fiancée made them best, teasing that he’d start a family feud at a funeral. It earned some chuckles. Tommy said his father would want a celebration and that was why the banquet would have tables groaning with his favorite foods and drinks. He thanked everyone for coming and turned the podium over to Dario.
The turnout was such that it seemed like Tom Ferrano was a respected business man and family man who would be missed.
I made four of the lemon Bundt cakes, even, feeling weird about it, but getting encouraged to do it by Lisa, who had said that Tom had enjoyed it and that the night I’d first made it for their dinner party, she’d found him in the kitchen, sitting in the dark eating a piece at two in the morning. She said it with a smile on her face, though and it’d made shivers trill up my back, thinking about my mom making it for him back in their day.
Lisa thought it was a simple act of enjoyment, but I knew in my gut that it wasn’t that. It was Tom having a moment, remembering a woman he’d tormented, thinking about tormenting my father,
likely, about the Ferrano-style justice of having me matched with his son against my will. Tom Ferrano Sr. had been a sadistic and evil sonofabitch deep down.
Or maybe he really loved my mom like Tommy loved me and missed her, was willing back then to do anything to have her and failed so he turned bitter. I tried not to think of it that way, to not compare Tommy and his father, but it wasn’t easy and sometimes my mind went there.
Tommy talked about how Tom Sr. had helped many people, given to charities, assisted illegal immigrants in getting out from under the thumb of tyrannical debtors.
Dare’s eulogy told funny stories about his father, told about business lessons his father had taught him, and more words about the importance of family.
Sarah Martinez had gotten up and spoke of how many lives Tom had positively impacted, hers included. She sang a beautiful Spanish song with tears in her eyes, staring at the large framed photo of Tom off to the side, with a pianist and harp player accompanying her. Her voice was angelic, but also powerful, and gave me goosebumps.