June 22, 2016

These are the longest days of the year, beautiful days to be back in New England with warm, breezy days and air that kisses your face, not blasts it like a furnace like it presently is doing in the Valley of the Sun. And these are also the longest days for our family as we go through the difficult and mentally-taxing process of making my Mom’s arrangements and getting ready for her visitation (“it’s not a wake!” in family lingo) and funeral tomorrow.

As the oldest son in the family, it’s been my appointed task to ensure my mom’s final wishes are being followed while still ensuring other members of the family have a voice in things as well – after all, arrangements of this nature are as much, if not more, for the living as they are for the dead.

You always hear of raging battles amongst family members following the death of a parent (or parents) because of any number of reasons: dough-re-mi, sibling rivalries, long-simmering resentments, issues or slights never resolved, etc. etc., but fortunately that hasn’t been the case here. Oh sure, there have been differing ideas and pointed discussions about how and when things should be done and such, but everything seems to have been worked out pretty much to everyone’s satisfaction. Of course, there’s been a bit of eggshell walking, but that’s to be expected when you’re in a situation where emotions are so raw and so exposed. In the end, I think Mom would be pleased with how it all has gone, and that’s all that counts in the end.

What ended up being kind of funny was working out Mom’s obituary, with everyone tossing in ideas about what should or needn’t be included. My uncle was savvy-enough to bring a recent obituary from someone who had died recently that provided the general construct for what we ultimately came up with. What was very cool was for Tracey to find a piece of paper where Mom had documented her last wishes that included that beautiful paragraph that ends her obituary: it was beautifully stated in her own words, and we put it in word for word. What made it funny was the fact that, after reading it over and over aloud to make sure we had it all organized appropriately, with proper syntax and in proper order, my uncle tells me the next day that we had forgotten to include Mom’s youngest sister Gwen, who had passed away in her youth. Unbelievable.

…it kinda makes me wonder about the group-think involved in the creation of historically-great documents like the Magna Carta, or the Nicene Creed, or even our Declaration of Independence or Constitution, and what might have been left out of them by mistake after the final written version got sent to the printer. I can only imagine Ben “The Doc” Franklin running up to Thomas “T.J.” Jefferson to tell him that x y or z got left out of the final product. Who knows, history could have been radically changed!

Anyways, everybody, whether ready to or not, has sort of started mentally transitioning into the next phase of a post-Mom existence. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at these kinds of things), my folks lived a fairly uncomplicated existence and never accumulated much in the way of possessions: all that got taken care of when they transitioned from the large family home to a condo thirty years ago, and then to an apartment from the condo ten years ago. As a result, there aren’t piles and piles of paper, and countless banks, insurance companies, and government agencies to notify, but there’s still work to do. Coming back in a couple of weeks for the Goodboys Invitational, therefore, will serve two purposes: give Dad some downtime and alone-time to grieve and get accustomed to his new existence, and give the two us time to make all the calls, notifications, visits, and mailings needed to put Mom’s final affairs in order.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 08:56 | Comments Off on The Longest Days
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