PDF Please Laugh at my Funeral

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We had so much patience for her, we would count to breaths to stop ourselves from wringing her neck.

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At least an hour, during all those insomniac nights on her deathbed. Her demented condition of the moribund queen who refused to kick the bucket, who wanted every little thing, every eccentric whim satisfied. At midnight, in the depths of winter, raining, she wanted to eat fresh peaches. And like idiots we left the house in the downpour, all of us wetter than pelicans, rummaging for change as we went searching through the deserted streets, waking up every shopkeeper in the port, going up and down the hills until we found a can of the damned fruit.


And when we returned, shaking ourselves dry like dogs, La Loba threw the can at our heads because that craving had come and gone. Now she wanted tangerine ice cream. Tangerine ice cream? And in the middle of June, frostbitten with cold, the locas turned around and left again, braving the elements until they found a slick-eyed Argentine who, after hearing their wailing tango of the dying mamacita, agreed to sell them a cone. And not even then could Lobita sleep, now fixated on the pink flesh of a summertime melon. Because in hell there are no peaches, or tangerines, or melons.

And that much heat makes you thirsty.

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Slaves of Egypt, bring me melons, grapes, and papayas, raved the poor darling waking the whole boarding house with her queenly pregnancy. As if the holocaust of the disease had become a gestation of grief, switching death for life, the throes of agony for the pangs of birth.

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The deranged Loba transformed AIDS into a promise of life, imagining herself the carrier of a child incubated in her anus with the fatal semen of that lost love, that prince of Judea named Ben-Hur, who had planted the fruit one night in the Roman galleys and then left at dawn, leaving her pregnant in a sinking ship. Night after night we heard her call him, while we tried to placate the cravings of the parturient Loba.

She set us all to knitting little sweaters and hats and vests and booties for her baby. She made us sing lullabies, rocking her as we fanned her with feathers, as if we truly were the slaves of an expectant Nefertiti. At some moment or another she had managed to cast us in her movie, so convincingly acted that, drained by exhaustion, we too came to believe in the coming delivery. So all the locas kept getting up in the freezing cold, sneezing, listening to her psych ward fantasies, her final dalliances, her little voice strangled by cough, her shrieking orders each time more muted.

Until one day, still haughty, she opened her mouth like a hippopotamus on the Nile and no sound emerged. She was struck dumb in her pharaonic command. Begging, praying, pleading for that airplane from nowhere to arrive soon. Mopping her sweat, saying Ave Marias and reciting rosaries like background music. All of us there, paler and shakier than Lobita herself, awaiting the minute, the second in which this loca would sigh her last breath and our prayers could cease.

The whole holy night spent watching her face, which to tell the truth looked more gorgeous than ever. Her silk skin, like a black tiger lily, shook with light in that abyss. Her swan neck of dark pearl drooped like a ribbon. Then a cold breeze blew through the window, as if someone had opened a tomb. La Loba tried to say something, call someone, modulate a scream out of those tensed lips. She opened her rolling eyes, trying to bring one last photo postcard from life with her.

We watched her flapping, desperate to not be swallowed by the shadow.

We felt that icy touch that left us stiff, unable to do anything, unable to look away from Lobita, whose yawing jaw was stuck fast, unable to get out a scream. We stood there like idiots, shocked by the dark corridor of her mouth, open like a black hole, like a cesspit in which we could just glimpse her prattling tongue. Her marvelous mouth, like the unchained opening to a tunnel, like a sewer drain that had carried Lobita into the foul waters of that whirling, sinister eddy.

Sobbing, still horrified by her mouth, we stuck our hands into that darkness, trying to grab her by the hair as she fell. All of us struggling to reach her, to drag her back into the living. And we saw our friend depart on that river of weeping, on that trusty diseased glider carrying her openmouthed to heaven. She should always be remembered as a diva. Something must be done quick.

Bring a scarf to close her mouth before it stiffens. One long enough to wrap around her chin and knot on her head. Not yellow stupid, what a depressing color. Worse, she hated the cops. Better on the side, near her ear, like how Lola Flores wore it, back when they called her the Pharaohess, Lobita thought the world of her. A nice and tight knot, even if it crushes her cheek, leave her jaw shut for an hour at least, until it sets and hardens. So for an hour the locas busied themselves bathing the corpse in enough milk and starch for a Babylonian queen.

One gave her a manicure, gluing on little mollusk shells like fake nails, while another sawed off her calluses and bunions, scaling off the calcified grime of her feet. Gordita you were never all that black, you just rollypollied in the dirt, too lazy to wash with soap, always applying rogue and perfume over the filth, said the locas scrubbing Lobita with chlorine.

While they were waxing her eyebrows and curling her lashes with a heated spoon, the dead queen began to go stiff. Something must be done! Bring hot towels to soften her up.

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But with the heat from the rags, the nerve in her jaw curled like a spring, dropping her lips half-open into a cackle. Looks like our girl is having a laugh at our expense, growled La Tora, the Bull, a burly loca who had been a wrestler in her youth. Leave her to me. And we kept quiet because an angry La Tora is serious business.

We meekly reminded her to do it with love. Love You Son,Rest in peace.

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Jamie, as the tears poor from eyes and the pain in my heart aches with every beat. I love you.

Love Sissy. Cliff and I want to extend our deepest sympathy to Mitchell, David and Michael and the entire Hampton family. We have so many fond memories of Jamie when we were neighbors in Landenberg. Our daughters Jennifer and Jamie had alot of fun times with Jamie and Michael when they lived next door. Jamie had a great sense of humor and was such a kind, sweet soul.

We are so sorry to hear of his passing. Went to school road the bus with him nice guy my thoughts and prayers for his family at this difficult time so sad so young Rest In Peace friend. We made so many memories cousin some good some bad! We always seem to make it work though. From living in the holler with uncle Don eating TV dinners to living in forge creek eating steak dinners we were happy either way. I remember turning 16 riding around with Dunn and Friend blasting Godsmack and Limp Bizkit having the time of my life thinking these are the good day ol days. Jamie it breaks my heart to know your gone.

It has been way to long since I last seen your handsome face and heard your contagious laugh. You will alway be in my heart and on my mind cuz! You had a lot of heart ache on this earth a lot of pain and suffering but no more. You will be greatly missed, we had some good times when we were young , I will always enjoyed being around you,. He was one of a kind. He was such sweet guy. Love you all.