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Ashes, ashes, we all fall down, Part I - It seemed like a good idea at the time... [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
terribleturnip

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Ashes, ashes, we all fall down, Part I [Apr. 15th, 2008|11:13 am]
terribleturnip
’m still in sleep deficit, thanks to realizing at 9:30 last night that my easy-peasy tax preparation (I’d done all of the hard, business-related stuff and only had the adding up the various W-whatevers and filling in the blanks already) was missing the W-whatever that allows me to deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes. It was found, but going to bed early didn’t happen. So, today, I pull a previously written entry, from back when I had a bit more time and few more operating synapses.

I know that it’ll come as a shock to you that I have little to no reverence when it comes to death, dead bodies and all of the associated pomp and rituals. What little I can scrape up, I try to reserve for respecting the grief of those touched by the passing. (See, I WANTED to write “touched by the dead thing” but out of respect, I didn’t. Er, um...well...)

Remember, the empathy pouch,it is small and often empty. So, if you are currently grieving or close to it or just don’t think that a dead person could possibly be funny...

When the STBX’s Dad passed away, he was out in the Midwest visiting a relative at the time. So, they had him cremated and shipped back East to Tim and his brother until they could decide what to do with him. Dad hadn’t left or expressed any kind of desire or plan. (See, out of respect for the dead, I didn’t write: Typical. Dang, there I go again. I will be in so much trouble if they ever invent software that just types as you think. No, back to respect – could be a lovely man, but planning for the future...spur of the moment as only a lifelong alcoholic can be. Wait, I need to stop and clamber out of this hole I’ve dug. Hang on. Oof.)

Anyway, Tim and his brother couldn’t decide either (yeah, I know, the shock continues, but that's a burden I can sympathize with), so, I got my big thrill when the doorbell rang, the mailman handed me a box, a clipboard to sign and I got to yell up the stairs “Tim, your Dad’s here!”

Which still makes me giggle.

But then we had to figure out what to do with him. Tim would have been happy to just set the box in the living room or upstairs in the office. But there is no way I am sharing living space with a dead person, no matter how desiccated and crumbled. Which traumatized my Mom, who had envisioned splitting herself and my Father into two pairs of bookends so that my brother and I could each have some of them hanging around in the living room. I told her that I would scatter her anywhere – but no way was she sitting on a shelf next to the television for the rest of my life.

I know, you’re thinking – wait a minute, aren’t you Halloween chick, gross-girl, don’t you have a skull sitting above your television right now? Don’t you have a squirrel skull on your dashboard? Didn’t you just buy a sculpture made from vertebrae?

Sure. But I don’t KNOW who they once were. To me, when you die, you’re gone. You’re in my head, my heart, my soul – but that thing lying there is just dead flesh. And if I’m not going to eat it, it needs to get right back in the cycle of life, not be weirdly sealed up in some decorative container like a fetish object. I understand that I’m in the minority here, but I don’t really care. It’s just a constant reminder to me that now you’re all rotted or burned up and just sitting there in your cement container or olivewood urn. Blech. I would rather remember you as you were – or as you’ve become: part of a tree, blending with the world, worm poo, whatever. That just seems more comforting to me.

So, we're discussing where Dad should go, because by now, Tim and Brother have decided that it would be best, since that summer the family reunion was scheduled to happen near the family plot, they would take Dad back out there and have a memorial service for the family and inter him with the rest of the clan. Of course, if we'd decided this earlier, Dad could have just stayed out there instead of being shipped back east and then sent back.

But, what the hell, Dad always was a traveler. So, I suggested that we put him in the outside room, the unfinished family room that we use as a giant storage closet. Tim countered with the basement, and THAT was funny since then I could say "well, he always did want to live in our basement" but we had a leaking pipe issue at the time in the basement and I could NOT handle thought of Dadmud.

When I asked him what was wrong with the outside room, he sheepishly admited that he was worried that Dad would get cold, because it was unheated.....

But Tim did finally put Dad out there -- and I felt a little less coldhearted when I saw that Tim put him on the shelves with the Halloween stuff and mounted a demon head on the box. Seemed appropriate.

But then what happened to Dad? Oh, that’s Part II...
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: lowlandscot
2008-04-15 03:44 pm (UTC)
I don't know what your reading tastes are, but if you like Victorian era British and you haven't read "The Wrong Box" by Robert Louis Stevenson, you really should. The box is a coffin, of course, and the "wrong" part gets to be very wrong indeed.
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2008-04-15 03:53 pm (UTC)
Oh *snicker*

Hey I threatened to take Ma to Juarez and leave her sitting at the bar like she did me once. We also toyed with the idea of planting her but where but where. That whole Mexico idea started sounding better however I *know* she'd hunt me down and haunt my ass.

Currently she's in her room in a lovely box that rather resembles a jewelry box. Given as how I've had to argue with her a few times about the fact she really *is* dead (and light some candles etc), I'm treading quite lightly.

However, if you really do find you want a lovely box-o-ashes (by RonCO buy now supplies ARE limited !) living in your basement I have her travel papers .....

yes you have to have papers to transport - geesh
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[User Picture]From: piratekalia
2008-04-15 04:43 pm (UTC)
"Hey I threatened to take Ma to Juarez and leave her sitting at the bar like she did me once."

Ok...seriously...there's a story here...

Edited at 2008-04-15 04:44 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2008-04-15 04:49 pm (UTC)
Let's just say I learned to cuss and flirt in really bad border lingo ... and eat questionable food.

It was The El Submarino Club. Trust me the name was scarier than the interior. It was pretty boring which is more than likely why they left.

Hey props to her - she did finally remember where she'd left me sitting and came back.

((I was 9 or 10 - hardly a toddler so it was all good. Ma and stepdad just forgot they'd taken me I guess -- and they were at the bar a couple of doors down.))

It's one of those funny with mom moments - sort of like the multi-state bar hopping episodes.
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[User Picture]From: mistressfetch
2008-04-15 05:22 pm (UTC)
I think we should take Ma out drinking..in her honor, of course!....
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2008-04-15 05:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah I can just see explaining to the cops that we left The Wild Granny somewhere but it's ok because she's at the bar and she has her papers.

*snicker*


I will - however - be bringing her mug to The Pirate Invasion. It just seems like the thing to do.
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[User Picture]From: pyllgrum
2008-04-15 06:21 pm (UTC)
If you had listened to me, and had gotten the iron urn shaped like a ship's anchor, one long trip to Ft. McHenry on the water taxi and we would not have to worry about no stinkin' papers.
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[User Picture]From: chellebelle74
2008-04-15 04:48 pm (UTC)
My mother is one of the few I know of that actually planned her own funeral. After she was diagnosed terminal, she didn't want us kids to have to deal with it (bless her controlling, occasionally obessesive compulsive,heart) and she set about planning her own funeral. I went with her to the funeral home where during the introductions she shook the funeral director's hand and said, "Hi, I'm Mary-Gayle. I'm the future corpse." Still makes me laugh every time I think about it...
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2008-04-15 06:05 pm (UTC)
"Future corpse." Heeheeheeheehee... As are we all!
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