The funeral director wore a yellow tie emblazoned with clocks. Clocks. Every single clock stated that is was three o’clock. I don’t know if it was AM or PM but all I took away from the experience of the yellow tie was “your time is up.”
I couldn’t tear my eyes away from that tie. In some muffled section of my brain I heard his questions. His voice sounded so far away as he asked questions like “what was your mother’s middle name?” and “what was her life’s work?” I, in conjunction with my dad, answered his questions but I couldn’t help but be focused on that tie.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. I wonder if he consciously picked that tie? Or was it a gift? Perhaps for Father’s Day? Did he had children? What made him want to be a funeral director? Had he, too, buried his mother? Was he interested in the embalming process and encouraging his family into picking out just the right casket for mom? All these questions he was asking me made me think of some of my own. I wanted some questions answered, too. Like where was my mother? Was she all alone in a dark place? Did she need a blanket? Was her hair still braided like it was when she died?
Did she miss us?
Mom passed away peacefully on Friday, March 25 at approximately 7:15 PM. She was 67 years old. For a woman not particularly known for being peaceful, her quiet death was quite a beautiful thing to experience. At least it was for me. As it stood I was nearing my snapping point. In addition to losing my mother, my son has antibody therapy in New York City next week. My daughter is getting ready to celebrate her seventh birthday and I’m feeling guilty about yet another one of her milestones getting overshadowed by cancer treatment. I’m completely overwhelmed. So, for mom to go quietly within a couple of hours after being taken off life support, well, I found that to be an amazing blessing. No more machines. No more tubes. No more pain or suffering. She was finally at complete peace.
My sister, father and I have collectively decided not to have the service until after Benjamin’s next round of antibody therapy. That gives us some time to plan and catch our breath before honoring a very complex woman.
My sister and I have picked out the clothes she will wear. My dad and I picked out her casket. Honestly, we had picked out a simple shaker style casket used for cremation – minimal metal – but when we saw an eco-friendly basket style casket, we knew that was the one. Simple yet very unique. Smart. Completely unexpected. You’d never see that coming. I think it captures mom entirely.
We’ll have a cocktail hour. We’ll show pictures of her enjoying her grandchildren and her beautiful gardens. We’ll celebrate her life and her passions. We’ll probably tell stories about what a firecracker she was. We’ll definitely share how much we will miss her.
As for me, all I can think about is what she planned to do when she died. When I was much younger, I was cut from 7th grade chorus for my inability to sing. Mom told me that she while she was never a good singer either, she knew that someday – when she died – the first thing she would do when she got to Heaven would be to hit a “High C”. I like to think that she’s basking in the glow of her new Heavenly home and hitting all the high notes of the new life she’s been given.
And not missing us a bit.