(originally posted on LiveJournal)
The Thursday that my mom died, I called a friend of mine from high school. Only one person reading this knows her, but still, I’m going to call her Sabrina, just in case. Sabrina has two kids, and her daughter had her 6th birthday on the Saturday after Mom died. The last birthday party I went to for the daughter was her 2nd. So, I was calling to let her know we were still coming, but I did want to tell her what was up.
Sabrina is practical, if nothing else. When I told her Mom died, she said, “Oh. Well, you kind of expected that, right?” I mean, she sounded sorry, but still. On the other hand, she was the only one of my friends who came to Mom’s funeral, and she brought her husband and son. It’s just weird how people react, I guess is my point.
On Friday morning, the phone woke me up again, this time just before 9. It was one of my sister’s friends, Heidi. Heidi volunteered to do all the food for the reception following the funeral. I tried to go back to sleep, but couldn’t. Then, it was one phone call after the other. I can’t even remember who they all were, just that they were all related to Mom’s death. I know who I didn’t talk to – my dad. He was having carpet put in. He had to go to the cemetery at 8:30, so my grandmother was at his house at about 7 to stay with the guys putting the carpet in. I couldn’t get through to the house. I assumed that she couldn’t hear the phone over the noise.
I talked to the woman at the cremation place to order an urn. The priest told us that my mom should be cremated within a week, so that’s why we picked Thursday. Nope. It takes 7 to 10 business days to cremate someone, and that’s only after all the paperwork is filled out. I was pissed. I couldn’t change anything, because people – most importantly, my sister – had already made arrangements. I hated the fact that we picked this lovely urn and no one’s ever going to see it. I also thought that if we knew that, then we could have made different arrangements. More people might be able to come. My sister wouldn’t have had to change her plans. (Maybe she would have anyway. I don’t know.) It just really made me unhappy.
Max arranged for Jack to stay at school all day so he could be in Pleasant Hill to help. We finally got going around 11.
Once at my Dad’s house, I realized that the carpet guys had unplugged my Dad’s phone. There was a mess of wires and cords below my Mom’s computer, so I sorted that all out.
Once we finally got the phone to work, there were more phone calls. More looking for Mom’s belongings and papers. We had to be at the church hall at 1 pm. Heidi was going to be there. She beat us, and was filling out the form when we got there. Heidi is Mormon. My dad is Catholic. Just so you know.
Heidi brought her daughter, and Dad spent most of the time playing with the kid, while Heidi asked all these questions about utensils, coffee, wine, etc. I wouldn’t have thought of half of them. My dad knew more about what was available at the hall than the woman did. He’s spent over 30 years in that place with the Knights of Columbus, doing pancake breakfasts and making sausage.
More phone calls. Talking to the cremation place, which I keep mentally calling “the cremary” which is gross. We got the church to do a Rosary at 5 pm the night before the funeral. The priest included his services and the church in the funeral price.
All day Friday, I was going on both my Dad’s phone and Max’s cell phone. I still couldn’t find mine. Ann had made reservations and was driving back to Florida with her husband and kids. My Aunt Donna was arriving Sunday. I talked to my Mom’s best friend from high school for a good long time. My Aunt Sue called multiple times.
To be able to get an obituary in, I had to write it before 10 am on Saturday. If we wanted an obit with a picture, then that had to be called in by 4 pm on Friday. I called the Contra Costa Times office just after 4 and asked for rates. It came down to about $1.50 per word. The guy told me he’d be there til 5 if we did want to run a picture. Fortunately, I had my laptop at my dad’s and we found a picture. I had been writing the obit for most of the day, in between phone calls. I’ll post it separately. I think it turned out nice.
We had to leave at 5 to make sure we’d be on time to pick up Jack. I talked to the pianist again in the car. That started my negotiations with the piano player. She basically told me that I couldn’t sing a Streisand song for my mom during Communion. When I mentioned that my sister might want to sing, she decided that had to be a prelude. So Ann and I talked and decided that we’d both sing all the hymns (3) together, and I’d do the Streisand song (“The Way We Were”) and she’d talk. I didn’t want to have to learn 5 songs. I also didn’t want to sing after the people gave their eulogies. Oh well.
We had to go to Target to get a present for Sabrina’s daughter. Jack had had a late snack at school, so we ended up eating popcorn and chicken fingers at Target for dinner. And a Jamba Juice. Very healthy.
I stayed up late looking for pictures of my mom to make a collage for her funeral.
Saturday, I decided to go to the Farmers’ Market with Jack. It was actually pretty nice. Nice to spend time with him. I ended up spending 20 minutes on the phone (Max’s cell) with my grandmother making breakfast plans for Sunday. We got back to the house late, so we started out for the party late, and we got a little lost, so we were like 45 minutes late. The party was at a gymnastics center, but they only had the floor for an hour. So, Jack got all of 5 minutes to play.
I thought being at the party would be helpful. It wasn’t. I didn’t know anyone else there, other than Sabrina. And looking around at moms and kids just made me think how much I missed my mom. How Mom was going to miss out on Jack’s life. I just felt awful.
We invited ourselves back to Sabrina’s house and watched Bolt, which was cute. We went to the Elephant Bar for dinner, and I came very close to losing it at the table. I started to cry, but regained composure. I felt like I had to cry, but I didn’t know how. That lasted the whole night.
Once again, I stayed up late looking for pictures.