Actually I meant to post some stuff today….
I was going to get back to normal snarkiness today (because snark never sleeps, it’s only resting its eyes…) but there were the hundreds of emails that came in that I had to read and there was the visit to the mortuary (which I will get to in a second).
I want to thank all the people who sent me their condolences which, taken as a whole, made laugh a little/cry a little/want to hug you all (but in a purely manly way if by chance you’re, you know, a guy). I also want to thank all of you who didn’t email me but thought about it. They’re right: it’s the thought that counts.
Now about the mortuary stuff…
In accordance with my dad’s wishes we set about making the arrangements for his cremation, so it was off to the mortuary this afternoon with my mom and my brother (my sister and her husband having left this morning to fly to Tavarua for ten days of surfing. We told her to go, Dad would have wanted her to. Actually he would have wanted to go too.) Anyway we were met at the mortuary by a very nice man that I’ll call ‘Dave’ because his name was…Dave. Accompanying ‘Dave’ was ‘Brian’ (that may or may not be his real name) who explained that today was ‘Dave’s’ first day and he would be supervising. I mentioned that I thought it was pretty neat that ‘Dave’ didn’t have to wear a paper hat that said “Trainee”. ‘Dave’ didn’t know whether to laugh or not probably because comments like that weren’t covered in mortuary school, but he did manage to maintain the proper mortuary-guy front and rolled with it.
Lots of paperwork.
Lots and lots of paperwork.
Lots and lots and lots of paperwork.
Towards the end ‘Dave’ asked if any of us would like to be present when my father’s “container” was entered (fed?…I forget what term ‘Dave’ used) into the flames at the crematorium. If there was ever any doubt that she’s my real mom, it ended when she replied, “I don’t think so…I mean I could see it if you really hated the person.”
I think we’re all going to be okay.
Hopefully this will be my last post on this subject. But I want to conclude with a quote that was sent to me by a reader (my apologies for forgetting which one of you sent it…you can all fight over the credit. No biting.) back when my dad first had his stroke.
Harold Brodkey described his last days and his impending death from AIDS in a slim but powerful book: This Wild Darkness. At the end he concluded:
One may be tired of the world–tired of the prayer-makers, the poem-makers, whose rituals are distracting and human and pleasant but worse than irritating because they have no reality–while reality itself remains very dear. One wants a glimpse of the real. God is an immensity, while this disease, this death, which is in me, this small tightly defined pedestrian event, is merely real, without miracle–or instruction. I am standing on an unmoored raft, a punt moving on the flexing, flowing face of the river. It is precarious. The unknowing, the taut balance, the jolts and instability spread in widening ripples through all my thoughts. Peace? There never was any in the world. But in the pliable water, under the sky, unmoored, I am traveling now and hearing myself laugh, at first with nerves and then with genuine amazement. It is all around me.
As the kids say: peace out.