aftermath

by Bella Rum

After days of decisions, phone calls, gatherings and not a single minute to myself, everything stopped. We’re back  home and it’s quiet, quiet, quiet. This must be the left-alone-with-your-own-thoughts phase.

We did errands yesterday: grocery store, farmers’ market, Hallmark, dry cleaners, another grocery store, etc. I slept for two hours yesterday afternoon. The phone never rang, not even CVS or one of those fallen-and-you-can’t-get-up scammers dared to call. Quiet.

After two weeks of neglect, H cut the grass.

My brother, usually dynamic and decisive, could not make a single decision. He remained quiet in a chair in the corner at the funeral home, and nodded at everything I suggested. With her silence, my usually absent sister acquiesced to every word I uttered. It wasn’t that difficult. I’d already written the obit and Dad had made and paid for all the arrangements, but still there were decisions and choices, and the process ate up more time and energy than you would expect. And after a number of sleepless days and nights, my energy was already very low

Can you believe this usually frugal man ordered a limo for us? In Virginia, when you pay ahead for your funeral, the money is invested in one of several options in an attempt to keep up with rising costs. The funeral director said that Dad had made a wise choice and they would have to write us a check for $1300. This I was not surprised at. It was the only time my brother and I laughed out loud.

My son was surprized that his usually prepared mom had forgotten to get Grandpa’s one suit cleaned earlier in the week. The search was on for a 24-hour dry cleaner. It was the only hitch in an otherwise smooth operation, but we found one. The lady said we wouldn’t get it back until after five the following day, but when H told her why we needed it, she said, “Okay, noon.” As H left the store, she said, “Okay, 10 a.m. Nice lady.

By the time we got to the florist, I could no longer make a choice. I was overwhelmed by exhaustion and so many decisions that my brain wouldn’t work. I felt sick. I knew I wanted red roses with some cascading white flower or other for the casket blanket, and that was it. I told the florist to make all the other decisions for my flowers and my kid’s flowers. My sister continued to nod at whatever I said.

We have to return to the cemetery tomorrow to wrap things up and choose a foot stone. That will be the final thing I do for Dad. Then I will clean out his fridge, pack up the canned goods, etc. and return home.

Dad was laid to rest on a stunningly beautiful day.

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