12 August 2013

This is Not For You

I keep hearing Eddie Vedder screaming it in my head, "THIS IS NOT FOR YOU!!" It's my theme song this week. And last week. And maybe next week. You see I'm planning my mother's funeral. With my mother's constant input. 

The wreath for the grave should be a circular creation of pink carnations with a lavender bow but the flowers for the church should be a classic combination of lily's and jackalillies or some other weird unheard of exotic flower. The program for the memorial is full of too many hyphens and the duet really needs to be a solo but maybe it should be a duet, let's think about that for a while shall we? Meanwhile the poem inspired by a recent hallucination needs to be capitalized at the beginning of each new line and that semi colon really needs to be a colon..

My mother (who mostly sees double these days due to crappy reading glasses) spent an hour looking over the price list from the mortuary and was quite pleased with the pink casket with the white satin interior that we picked out for her. Purple would have been best but hey, beggars can't be choosers. Then came the pictures taken from the cemetery: There needs to be a tree which gathers afternoon shade. The view should be of the whole valley.

The tree she will be buried beneath, complete with shade.

The view from the grave site. Not too shabby.

She thinks 10am is a good time for a burial, the sun should be just about right and it shouldn't be too hot. "Write that down." For the tenth time we go over the list of people to be notified when she dies. The list has about 10 names on it. We go over it again. "Should we get the will done?" I suppose so, if it's important to you that your tiny blue and white vase collection go to the proper person.

I'm sent on a spelunking expedition into the bowels of her little hoarder mobile home trailer to find a wee jewelry box in the midst of a mess I cannot even begin to explain. Through what must be divine intervention I find the jewelry box and am offered first dibs on any of the junk treasures inside. Now it's my duty to distribute the rest to my sister-in-law and step-sister-in-law.

I'm exhausted. From holding back the incredible urge to sing/scream at the top of my lungs that Pearl Jam song, my theme song.

But my mom finished with the paperwork, we talked through what the day would be like from start to finish, and we finished the program. We finished, and she agreed that our work was done and that the funeral sounded like it would be a beautiful affair. We finished and I closed the books and the papers and I said, "It's done mom, let's just relax now." And so she did. For the next 24 hours she had a massive influx of hallucinations. I think she did let go a little. Although today she was explaining to me that she was trying to get some help around here, that she was trying to give all the people in the room some directions and things to do. Even though there were no people in the room. She's not quite ready to let go of providing instructions to "every one in the room"

This is what I know: that a birth and a death are the surest, most powerful ways to have an unfettered experience of absolute TRUTH. These two events are also the best way to have a full to bursting experience of what I like to call You And All Your Shit that Comes With You. These 2 events are paths that lead directly to Great Unresolved Things. And these things demand to be attended to. It is in fact your job to attend to these things when a birth or death happens.

So there is this happening too...

My old friend Amy put it really well, "It is a strange stage to be in life now. The vitality, energy and pure life force of raising a child...and the exhausted calm of waiting for an end."

Yes, life is beginning and ending. What an astounding cycle I am witnessing...and creating.

Hey let's go listen to that song. I'd link it here but I'm blogging challenged.


  1. Here's a link, then. "Vitalogy" rules. Pearl Jam rules. Excellent bit of writing, incidentally...


    1. Thanks Oz, and thanks for the song. Agreed, vitalogy might be their best.