I always say that you never hear more lies than at a funeral. “It was just her time,” or “she was ready,” or “I wish I knew her better.” It seems like the truth lives in the jags of silence. There was that kind of silence when he pushed her body into the crematorium oven and all I could think was, “He’ll never see her face again.”
I don’t do well with silence.
It takes everything for me to keep my lips sealed, to the point that when I am quiet people usually ask me what’s wrong. So funerals can be annoying for me.
Rewind to Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend and I were supposed to go ice skating. He gets a phone call saying that his mother has been transferred to the ICU. She had pneumonnia and blood clots in her leg. Turns out that’s two big red flags for cancer. The big C is one of those slow killers where everyone gets to mourn before you’re dead and you can say your goodbyes, get your affiars in order. But two days later she was dead.
On top of mourning, he’s getting calls from everyone. His ex that left him for his roommate–they both called. People that he hasn’t told yet. People he hasn’t spoken to in years. Its like a high school reunion. He also has to go through all her stuff, decide what to toss and what to keep.
I can’t imagine.
We’re all going to go through it. Unless you are an orphan or you die young — neither of which is a preferable fate — you will be there to see your mother die. Whether you’re standing there giving the doctor’s the OK not to continue resuscitation (like he did) or whether you haven’t spoken in years. One of the more morbid milestones of life.
So. The funeral. It was a Hindu funeral. The “temple” was in a place of worship at an Indian shopping mall. We all sat on the floor with our shoes off. The priest was wearing all white. He sang in Sanskrit and translated. He compared reincarnation to buying new clothes, which was a strange but fitting metaphor. Sean and I made a garland that was strung around a picture of his mother. At the end of the service all the guests went before her picture and said a prayer and placed a flower next to it.
So last night I found out that my mom was Baker-acted again. My grandmother called the police because she felt threatened by my mother. She just wanted them to talk to her, get her to be reasonable. I don’t think that law enforcement officers are really trained for mediation. My grandmother called them because she didn’t know where else to turn. The police beat my mom in the intake room. They injured her elbow, eye and shoulder (which she is soon to have surgery on). But when I called her she was only upset because she felt like she had let me down.
But she’s the only mom I’ll ever have and I love her. She has problems living in the world but she is a good mother. She always made me feel like I could do anything if I worked hard at it. She made me feel treasured. She raised me to be confident and never take crap from anyone. How many daughters can say that? Not enough, anyway.
Sean’s brother thinks that Christa was ready to die because her role as a wife and mother was done. Imagine that being what your whole life is about. Yet my mom is the same way.
So thanks mom. And thanks to Christa. I never got to tell you. Thanks for raising a boy to be the kind of man that changes my idea of what a man can be.