The "Fun" in Funeral?
If you've been reading my blog regular/recently (and I hope you have), you know that these past few weeks have been difficult for me, as well as for my family. In all honesty, it's been challenging since last fall, but... We are all still working through our grief and the situation; a process that is going to take some time. (Who knows how long?)
Still it hasn't been all doom and gloom. There were a couple of incidents that were funny/amusing or at least made us smile. So I wanted to share those; because you can't have a funeral without fun.
The last day my mom was conscious and not yet on hospice, she wanted to make phone calls to friends. (I covered that story here) I didn't have all the numbers of friends, so I asked my dad and another friend to share my cell number with people my mom might want to speak with. Obviously this was a difficult task, especially for my dad. He was (understandably) upset as he told people that my mom was dying and that they should call me. It is also important to note that many of my mother's friends have hearing issues. (You might guess where this is going.)
At one point during the day, my mom was being cleaned up, which was difficult and painful for her. Right as this was happening, one of her friends called. This friend is hard of hearing and can be a little "flighty." There was a lot going on in the room at the time and it was hard for me to hear/understand what her friend was saying. She told me so was so upset (I got that) and when I told her now was not a good time to talk, she insisted on giving me a phone number (not the number she was calling from). I didn't have anything at hand to write it down, so I asked several times if she could call me back in 10 minutes, which she finally agreed to do (after she had lunch).
Fifteen or twenty minutes pass and my mom is resting somewhat comfortably. (Or as comfortable as you can be with a mask over your face, a chest tube and a host of other "stuff" attached to you.) When the phone rang again, I figured it was the friend in question. And it was. I brought the phone over to mom to speak to her and I could tell that the woman was puzzled. She asked who this was on the phone. Knowing that it was difficult to understand my mom with the oxygen mask, I said that I was Betsy's daughter and that my mom wanted to speak to her. To which she replied, "Betsy's dead." To which my mom said, "No I'm not." (And yes, this cracked me up and afterwards it cracked my mom up too.) The friend is screaming "WHY did Steve tell me she was dead?" (Note: he didn't; he most likely said she was near death or dying.) They have a brief conversation in which my mom tells her how good a friend she has been and the friend keeps telling her that she's going to get better. (Umm...we all knew that wasn't going to happen.) Once the conversation was over, I have to admit that both my mom and I had a good giggle. Lesson here: Listen carefully when someone calls you with bad news and never open with "<insert name> is dead."
The other amusing thing happened to my husband on Sunday, the day after we had the graveside service for my mom. If you know my husband, you need to imagine his voice as you read this. If you don't, you need to know that he tells this story with a straight face.
Sunday night he is putting out the garbage. A neighbor calls out to him to say hello and then asks what the big celebration was the day before. (After the graveside service, we invited people back to our house. This included several of our neighbors AND the obituary I wrote was posted on line to our local media site.) It must be said, that this particular neighbor is a little wacky. (She once had a little too much to drink at a neighborhood gathering and took over the children's bouncy house.) So my husband replies (deadpan): "My mother-in-law's funeral." That stopped our neighbor in her tracks. (She knew my mom.) She came over to offer her condolences. Then (and I am doing my best to quote my husband) she said, "I know how you feel. I've experienced 13 deaths this past year..." (Wait for it) "6 of them were cats. And my brother died too."
Please know that I am NOT making fun of all the deaths that she has had to deal with. It's HOW she put it (which is why I wish you could HEAR my husband tell it as opposed to just reading it). It's also the fact that her brother was an afterthought to the cats.
Are these things really funny? Is this inappropriate morbid humor? Maybe. But with all the stress and crises I've dealt with over the past twelve months, I'll take what I can get. Should we all?