Thursday, October 22, 2009, Early Afternoon
Okay, so the church my father had been attending is having his memorial service. After talking to my sister and checking with the other two daughters, we 've decided to ask the church to include us in the church bulletin for genealogical reasons. My sister and one of the other sisters are into genealogy and so, it would be nice to have some acknowledgment; especially since we were not acknowledged on the obituary.
I called the church, to give the church administrative assistant the appropriate information and leave word that I'd like to talk with the Pastor. She is a little surprised to be hearing from someone who claims she's Duke Spencer's daughter. It went something like this:
Me: Hello, my name is Krishanna Spencer and I am Duke Spencer's daughter. I would like to speak with the pastor before tomorrow's memorial service.
Admin Assistant: <silence…silence…silence> Ohhhhhh… okay. What is this in reference to?
Me: I would like to be included on the church bulletin along with my other 3 sisters.
Admin Assistant: <silence…silence…silence> Ohhhhhh… okay.
Me: I realize this is probably catching you offguard.
Admin Assistant: Er, well, yes…are you coming to the service? What did you say your name was?
Me: No, I won't be attending the memorial service. My name is Krishanna Spencer.
Admin Assistant: And your sister's names?
Me: Let make sure I have the names right.
Admin Assistant: You don't know your sister's names?
Me: I know their names, I just need to make sure I have their full names right. They are actually half-sisters. We just found them a couple of years ago.
Admin Assistant: Oh. My, he was a busy man!
Me: Yes, yes he was.
So I give her the correct names and everything seems to be hunky dory. She assures me she will add the information to the bulletin and ask the Pastor to call me when he returns from visiting. I click end call and realize, I forgot to mention the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. So I call back.
Me: Hi. This is Krishanna Spencer. I forgot to mention the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren. He has 4 grandchildren and 2 great-grands.
Admin Assistant: Who? Oh, yes! You forgot about your children?
Me: No. Daughter #4 and I have no kids. The grandchildren belong to our half-sisters, Daughters #1 and #2.
Admin Assistant: Oh. I see. That was 4 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren?
Me: Yes. And would you please send me a copy of the bulletin?
Admin Assistant: Oh sure!
Me: Thank you.
Admin Assistant: Can I be nosy and ask what's going on?
Me: To be honest, I don't know. Annie had both my mother's and Daughter #3's phone numbers and she chose not to call them to let them know he died.
Admin Assistant: It sounds like you all need to talk!
Me: I guess it does, but so far that hasn't been an option.
Again all the information is taken down, including my address and I am assured it will be included in the bulletin.
I call the newspaper and leave a message for the person that handles obituaries about correcting the one they received.
I e-mail my sister and let her know it's all been taken care of.
You're probably thinking by now what I should have been thinking at that point: This is too easy. No good deed goes unpunished.
Hole-eeee Shit! The Drama Llama pounced on me with all four of it's heavy hooves.
An hour or so later, I get a call from the Pastor.
Pastor: This is Pastor K, from the church. I just wanted to clarify a few things.
Pastor: Your name is Krishanna? And you say you have 3 other sisters?
Me: Yes.We all have birth certificates bearing his name. I would be his third daughter.
Pastor: And your sister's name is Daughter #4?
Pastor: What is your mother's name?
Me: My mother's name is K.
Pastor: OH! So your mother is K!
Pastor: So who is Daughters #1 and #2's mother?
Me: That would be D, his first wife. We've never met any of them. They are actually half-sisters. Daughter #4 found them doing genealogy research a couple of years ago.
Pastor: So, so your mother K, isn't his first wife?
Me: No. She was his 5th wife.
Pastor: <silence…silence…> Well, we're kind of… in the middle of this. Annie doesn't want you acknowledged in the bulletin. This is very bad.
Me: I know the church has been placed in the middIe. I know it's bad. I realize you are in the middle. Annie had both my mother's and Daughter #4's phone numbers and she chose not to call anyone and let them know he had died. All of this confusion could have been alleviated with a phone call. We could have worked this out without getting you in the middle.Why doesn't she want us acknowledged?
Pastor: Well, she said you had never visited him.
Me: That's right! And we had good reasons not to!
Pastor: Well, if you had good reasons not to visit then why do you even want to be acknowledged?
Me: For genealogical reasons! We are his daughters! Daughters #2 and #4 are genealogical researchers and there are probably other people out there tracing family history who would like this information available.
Pastor: I see. I am going to have to call Annie and see if I can talk her into this.
Me: Do what you have to do, Pastor. I don't want to sully your memory of Duke, especially the day before his service, but we deserve to be acknowledged as his children. We only learned of his death yesterday through a Google Alert.
Pastor: Well, I will call Annie and see what she wants to do.
Me: Thank you for your help. And please, if she wants to talk with me you can give her my phone number. I would be happy to talk with her.
Not more than two hours later, I received a call from my father's widow.
Since this post is already long enough and you aren't tired of this drama yet, please proceed to the next post if you are so inclined.
*Some names have been omitted to protect the innocent and respect privacy.