As I sit to write this article, a few tears begin to roll down my cheek. And I think I wish I just could have said Good Bye to the woman who I loved so much.
Ok, so what the morbid down sounding article today…. Well, it started the other day when I sat down to have a conversation with my mom about her funeral. Ok so who at this moment is saying things, like how gross? how morbid? How could you do that?
Well let me give a little history, my mom and I have been able to talk about death and joke about it for years. I have been to more funerals than I ever care to remember. My family on my mother’s side is very large, so from an early age, I have been attending funerals.
Time and time again what we end up finding out is that there is no will, that there was no planning of services or funerals nothing nadda zip. I as an only child find this very burdening, although I have my grown children and Darrell, I feel that I will be a mess when my mom passes.
I know that my aunts will all be there, I get that. With my father not being in my life for the last 23 years, it felt that he had left me and it was only me and my mom. When he died last year, it was that realization that I will be alone.
The last thing that I want to be doing is planning the funeral of the very woman who has been my lifelong hero. The one that has always been there for me, ok sometimes too much. The one that can be extremely annoying, but the one that is there in a second when you need her.
So when the other day we were talking about her planning her own funeral or us doing it together, she consistently said that she did not want a big celebration…..thus is where things got interesting….
For years we have laughed when she said “just bury me in a Timmies Timbit Box”, we have always had a humor about death (survival I guess), but the time has come that we need to get serious about the planning.
So over coffee, we began to discuss what that day would look like. Again she said she wanted nothing, just a cremation, no one there.
This triggered me, I guess as I found myself getting worked up. I tried to explain that everyone needs to have a moment of grief and loss. Everyone needs to be able to say goodbye. In my day…..(oh brother, I actually used that set of words), people had to see the body to be able to process that someone had passed. Some families to include mine, take pictures, not sure what the hell that is about…
Conversation piece over tea I guess, well look at that casket Mable, it was just lovely. He could have had a good shave though…. I don’t know my family is weird.
The more we talked the more upset I become, not angry upset but, teary upset. All that I could think of was what would my kids want to be able to do or say.
I decided to phone my thirty-something daughter, usually the pillar for us all, to find out that she can’t or won’t even discuss it. In fact, she got upset and did not want to deal with the fact that her grandmother may in fact pass one day.
I attribute this to her mothers near-death illness, a brain aneurysm when they were really small and the continuous health issues that followed. My kids have been sheltered, cause all my relatives died when I was small, lol just kidding, I just did not make them go to funerals, because of my own disdain for them.
I always went because it was the “right thing to do”, that’s what I was taught. I remember going to my grandfathers funeral (he was my best man at my first marriage, tells you something), and my aunts had said that all the grandsons should be pallbears, and carry the casket. “It would be an honor” they said, I remember screaming back, an honor for who, this is my grandfather, why don’t you carry him if you think its such and honor. It was at this moment that I knew, I was done with death…..really
In recent years we have watched many friends and family, 29 at last count pass from something or another, within a very short window of time. I literally am done with death.
I now want to celebrate peoples lives instead of their deaths. Recently when my aunts we dying of illness, young in the big picture I chose to go and see them to say my goodbyes, to me that was honoring them. I said that I loved them both.
Back to my point with my mom, people need to say goodbye. She knows that I, as she said, will do what I damn well want anyway.
I want my kids to hear from those that know my mom. Those stories of how they knew her, stories of her accomplishments and the wonderful things she did. I want them to know how much people love her, I want them to hear people laugh at the stories of her, which I will tell many.
I want them to know how we sang our hearts out on a country road, or her “bushfire story” or how strong I believed she was all these years.
When my Grandma passed, I was ten. I had to sit with the younger cousins at my uncle’s house watching them. On the phone, I sat with my aunt(same age, moms sister) talking about why all the adults were at the hospital with my grandma. The other lady that I loved immensely. The one woman who totally got me… her oldest grandchild, I was with the kids while she quietly passed away…..
I just wish I could have said Goodbye…..