Monday, October 12, 2009

Of course you need a crowbar to open the urns. Makes total sense to me.

I had all these thoughts for how the scattering would go. I found prayers from all over the world, I cut flowers, and I even brought a small cup of Pepsi and coffee (my mom and grandma's favorite drinks). I hoped for something that was respectful and maybe even classy. Stanley went with me to pick up the bodies. They handed Stanley the urns and me the permits to scatter ashes. And away we went.

Lesson #1 ask the funeral people how to open the damn box.

Jump to me, Carl and Stanley freezing at 930 at night on the end of a pier trying to pry open the urns. Those things were closed like a Japanese puzzle box. Pulling, pushing, and a Swiss army knife did not work. Finally Carl remembered he had a crowbar in his car we used that to open them up. Lesson #2 buy a crow bar to keep in my car.

At one point this lovely couple came over to the end of the pier, no doubt to have a romantic moment. They glanced over at us trying to pry the box apart (Carl handling the crowbar and Stanley and I prying the lid back). The operation became klassy.

An hour after we arrived we finally opened all the urns. Due to wind factors we had to kneel on the end of the pier to let them go. In the first go around Stanley dumped grandma, and I took one of the dogs. I tried not to freak about the thought of kneeling in bird poop, as I poured out the dog. I was not good at pouring and some of the ash ended up on the edge of the pier. Without thinking I tried to sweep the ash off the edge with my shoe. Now my shoe has dead dog on it. Lesson #3 bring a broom the next time ashes need to be dumped.

At this point I am freaking out at the ash on my shoe, and make Carl finish scattering dog ashes. As Stanley begins to lower my mom I remember the flowers and the drinks and pour them off the pier. The cup I brought poured out in a way that looked like I was peeing off the edge of the pier. Which is how the night should have ended.

Towards the end of the whole blessed affair Carl asked me if I wanted to say a prayer or poem. I told him no, I didn't need to. At that point I just wanted to clean my shoe (which I did with both water and hand sanitizer), a drink (which Stanley thoughtfully brought), and to warm up. The next day we went out to the pier in the light of day. I wondered how far the ashes traveled, and then I looked down at a chalk like mark at the end of the pier and said hi to the dog.

I don't know how I was supposed to feel after this. Websites said I would feel all sorts of different things. They showed pictures of people looking happy to scatter their loved ones. I am grateful that I wasn't covered in ash, and I hope they are okay with the choice I made. And above all, I wished I did not have to do it.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friends help you move. Real friends help you move dead bodies.

I have been thinking of this quote all week as I think of two of my best friends, Carl and Stanley. Not only were they an amazing resource for me with all the craziness of funeral and reception planning, but they are the most helpful people I know. On the day my mom died my uncle told me that when my mom's ashes were ready to be picked up I could just pick up my grandmother's ashes too. Awe. Some.

From the beginning they have said that they will help me figure out how to scatter 4 sets of ashes (mom, grandma and two dogs). And let me tell you, yesterday I looked online for suggestions in making the scattering more respectful, and I came away more disturbed then ever. Through this whole process I have been overwhelmed, stressed, angry at unhelpful people, and absolutely blessed with all the good people in my life.

It's funny the things I have learned about myself through this process. One is that I am terrified that when I try to scatter their ashes I will then be covered in dead people/animals. And the second is that I am really freaked out about the thought of looking at my mom or grandma's ashes. When the time comes to scatter them I know I can count of Carl and Stanley to help me do whatever I need to. Even if that means making them dump them while I stand far far away.

Okay I really learned three things about myself. The third being I am very disrespectful of this entire process. When ever I talk about scattering the ashes I use the words "dump the bodies." I guess a career as a funeral director is not in my cards.

This week has been a whirwind of emotions, but I am always comforted by the support of my friends and family.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I feel fine enough I guess. Considering every thing's a mess.

And here comes the crap. I knew everything was running too smoothly for my family. And I knew better than to trust my aunt's offer to help when her M.O. is to avoid stress. So I have entered the fuck it (aka anger) part of grief and I find that it is not in the loss of my mother but in the actions of her siblings. Today my uncle called me to tell me that the truck I thought belonged to my mother is legally his, and he doesn't want to ask for money, he just wants the rest of what ever amount my mother owed him. Which is asking for money in my book. I told him I needed to talk to my dad, and then he basically implied my father (who has until this point paid for most of my mother's funeral arrangements) could pay him what he thinks is fair. To mis-quote Mr. Heston, "over my cold dead body." My father has paid enough and if my uncle wants money he can sell the damn truck.

Tonight I went to see the Bare Naked Ladies Perform and when they sang "Pinch Me" I thought my mom. It's funny that things that now make me think of her.