Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

7:15am, 19 degrees, no sun in the backyard yet. The frost still glistens like silver plating on the grass, and a deer just ran through the yard, a young one, spots just fading on his haunches.

Yesterday I arranged for my brother to be cremated. We decided it would be best to make these arrangements now, so that no one has to figure anything out, sign anything, pay for anything, really even do anything more than make a phone call when the time comes.

I had forgotten where the funeral home was, until I was driving there. Its behind the Laundromat where we washed our clothes when we were really young, and I remember we knew it was there, just beyond the fence and the jumble of trees, we knew there were dead people there.

Mick Mellett is the funeral director, and also the county coroner, so one phone call takes care of all your bereavement needs. We sat at a conference table and filled out the paperwork. I said no to everything. “Do you want a service?” “No.” “Do you want an obituary?” “No.” “Do you want an urn?” “No.” “What would you like the cremains in?” “A Folgers coffee can?”

He sort of stared at me, and I said, “Have you seen The Big Lebowski?”
“No.”
“It’s Tim’s favorite movie.”
“Okay.”
“And there’s this part of it where…”
“That’s okay, I’ve had pretty much every request you can imagine.”

Then I walked into this little side room, a showroom if you will, where you pick out the casket, or the urn or whatever. You have to pick out something for the body to be burned in, so I chose a large cardboard box with red string.

And this is exactly what Tim asked for. Actually he asked the other night to be “clocked behind the ear and tossed into the bonfire,” but this is as close as I can get.

Then I went to Northern Building Supply and got 20 5/16 5” lag screws with corresponding washers for Pat, and came home.

I finished the wall for the spare bedroom, got the door hung, trimmed it, and Doug built a shelf.

Tim came down and laid on the bed for awhile and watched the work. Then he went back upstairs. He’s on supplemental oxygen now, and sleeping most of the time. He’s much more clear headed with the oxygen, and able to make more sense.

He’s extraordinarily beautiful to me, sleeping or walking, spilling his milkshake all down the front of his shirt, or swaying back and forth as he tries to stand and we all stand poised like sprinters to grab him if he falls.

Emotions are running high right now, and we are rubbing up against each other and starting small fires. There have been a large number of people coming through, staying, leaving, dropping in, bumping into egos and setting off hurt feelings. Mostly we are kind and gentle with one another and sometimes not.

I look around and all I see are people having this same experience. We are all facing the same thing. Losing someone we love so much that living without him is a mystery. And whatever we say that is stupid and hurtful, whatever we do that inadvertently hurts a feeling, when we go our separate ways after doing or saying these things, its just two sad people who are confused and scared and just so incredibly sad about whats going on here. And I wish we could see each other that way before we say or do the things we do.

Yesterday I was sanding trim for the door, and I sanded part of it I shouldn’t and in the middle of it the piece of sandpaper on the pad sander came flying off and in one second Margaret looked at me trying to put it back on and laughed and said “what are you doing you spaz?” and in the next second Pat looked at the piece I was sanding and said “why did you do that you turd?”

And I lost it.

And with every word getting slightly louder I said, “Don’t fucking call me a fucking turd, I don’t fucking know what I am fucking doing, but I am fucking doing the fucking best I fucking can.”

And in a day where I arranged my brothers cremation and ripped a board to 2” at one end and 1 5/8” at the other, two things that are really not part of my reality at all, that sums up kind of what all of us are going through.

2 Comments:

At 8:29 PM, Blogger LauraBaltimore said...

Dan,

Beth and I love you guys. I posted a comment but it was on Sept 15 so check it out. Your writing captures the essence of what we all felt and are feeling.

Our mom's surgery went well

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger steph said...

You wrote:

"Emotions are running high right now, and we are rubbing up against each other and starting small fires. There have been a large number of people coming through, staying, leaving, dropping in, bumping into egos and setting off hurt feelings. Mostly we are kind and gentle with one another and sometimes not."

You make being human sound poetic. I wish I could make my life, in all it's plainness, sound so damned good and still real.

Then I read:

'And I lost it.

And with every word getting slightly louder I said, “Don’t fucking call me a fucking turd, I don’t fucking know what I am fucking doing, but I am fucking doing the fucking best I fucking can.”'

And I'm relieved.

Still beautiful.
And human.

Makes me appreciate our humanity, along with the things that fly from the surface.

In my own life, I'd like to see things as "small fires" and being "kind and gentle," but more often than not, I'm "doing the fucking best I fucking can."

I check in on your blog almost every day, as if checking in on a friend. I always hope you're doing okay.

 

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