Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Mom's funeral was on Saturday.  We flew out Thursday and arrived at her house late, but not so late that everyone was in bed, and ended up staying up too late even though we were all very tired.  Three of my four brothers were there, and the cousins from Louisiana were good company for my kids.  Friday we were up early to bank errands and then I spent hours and hours sorting through Mom's jewelry.

When you are 88 years old and rarely get rid of anything, you accumulate a lot of stuff.  Plus, Mom had a habit of just stuffing things here and there, not necessarily where anyone would expect to find them.  So I went through both closets in her room (hers & Dad's), and both dressers (hers & Dad's) and found innumerable interesting and somewhat valuable things; 7 boxes of mint proof sets.  Seven tins of coins, including a whole tin of wheat pennies and another of silver dimes and nickels.  An enormous box of first day issue stamps.  And so much jewelry!  Her personal taste was very modern as evidenced in the pieces she bought (or commissioned) for herself.  Then there were all the more conventional pieces that others had given her, plus countless pieces of costume stuff that merely fun, or sometimes just odd.  I took a break mid-day to have lunch at Bleu with the family, just to get out of the house.  We ended up staying up very late again, because there was so much to talk about with each other.  It rained most of the day.

Saturday was clear and cold in that way travel writers always call "brisk", cool but not too cold.  The service was lovely.  I cried so many times. Every time I saw another old friend, the tears just came so easily.  I accomplished my reading without crying.  It was a very good reading, Wisdom 3:1-9:
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. For if to others, indeed, they seem punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their judgment they shall shine and dart about as sparks through stubble;They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the LORD shall be their King forever.  Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect.
We walked from the church to the grave site, taking turns carrying the beautiful blue urn of Mom's ashes.  The service there was simple and lovely, too.  Then we all walked back to the church for a reception in their basement hall, where we had held Dad's.  My sister had handled all the catering and everything was lovely.  So many people!

When we got home, my siblings and I retired to the downstairs kitchen for our meeting.  We worked well together deciding many things.  For all the high emotions these past few months, the weekend was remarkably smooth.

Stayed up way too late again on Saturday night, playing poker (with Mom's pennies!) and talking with the kids.  Two hours of sleep later, I was up again, and we were on the road to the airport.  We were a bit tight, time-wise, but made it, and the flight was smooth, easy.  I slept for the first three hours and finished my grading during the rest of it.  It was the last thing I wanted to do, but I did it.

Then Sunday -- no nap, too much to do to get ready for school on Monday.  Then Monday, stayed up late again, because I got nothing done over break.  But I decided then to take Wednesday off, so of course I had to stay late again today to prepare everything for the substitute.  But that's OK, because tomorrow I can sleep in and hopefully unwind a little.  I could feel myself getting ready to snap a few times over the past couple of days.

I need to sleep.  I need to get used to the idea of Mom being gone, even though she has been sort of, mostly, gone for weeks now -- really since I took her to the hospital in June.  But this is different.  No matter what the brain knows, the way I knew Mom wasn't going to get better, the heart hopes. Having to let go of my heart's hope is not easy.

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