Monthly Archives: January 2013

Rainy Day Service

We had the service that Gpa wanted on Tuesday.  It was a rainy day, with thunderstorm warnings.  So only 4 people showed up.

I am OK with that.  They represented his Sunday School class.  I was the only one who represented the family.  The small number made for a very intimate gathering.

I found out that one I remembered, who wasn’t there had just gotten out of the hospital.  Some had thought he had passed away but he had just moved to Dallas.

It was good to share stories.  I took the posters and showed them pictures that we had at the celebration of life.  I’ll be taking the posters to California to show the Gbabies.

I was invited to lunch and got to know that woman better.  Then I just beat the weather back to Dallas.  Whew!

The funeral home was so busy and I called too late to bury the the remains on Tuesday.  So I’ll call and schedule another day, and another trip to Ft. Worth.  The pastor wants to be there when they lay Gpa to rest.  I will let him know, and go.  (Though I hadn’t planned on going and watching. I will, it will be good to know Gpa is in a safe place and finally with Mom and Gma.)

Life and Death Goes On

This morning, I went to Gpa’s old church to plan his service for his friends in Ft. Worth.  Because I needed to stop at the funeral home, I got there early enough to attend church.  It brought back memories when they called the kids up.  I’ve done gone up front before.  That is how long Gpa and Gma have been members.

While I was waiting for my appointment, the couple who joined the church in the service and announced they were getting married, came into the office to meet with a different pastor.  When the pastor I was to meet with took me into the conference room, we were asked if we could share the room.  A couple were meeting another pastor for a baptism.  Their baby was so little.

It was hard being the one talking about a funeral.  It kept me from asking if I could hold the baby.  OK, that and he was so little.  I forget how little babies start out.

It was nice to see that there were people who were making plans that are happier.  And the mom said it was nice meeting me even though all we said to each other was hello.


Slightly Irritated

I am so thankful that the ladies sent all the food from the celebration home with me.  I haven’t felt like menu planning or cooking. I haven’t paid attention to the time and stop when I realize I am hungry.  By then it’s really to late to do much.

And because I have a fridge full of food.  All I have to do is dish some food on a plate and maybe cook it.  A couple of days, the potato salad was breakfast, because that is what looked good at the time.

The house is quieter and I figured out partly because I don’t have 1-2 loads of laundry to do each day.

I’m irritated because there are still dishes in the sink to wash and my laundry basket has filled up.

I feel that now that life has stopped for Gpa, so should some of these mundane things that want attending to.

But mundane things are part of life.  And they want attending to.

I am still making my list of 2 hard things and then something fun.  I really do get more than the 2 done, it’s just that I only require myself to do 2.

Otherwise, I don’t think I’d do anything.

I’m going to allow myself some time to be irritated and then get all the things that want washing, washed.

One More Service

We had a lovely celebration of life on Sunday.  Everyone that came was able to remember Gpa.  However, this isn’t what he wanted. He wanted a service at his church.  He picked the pastor, the chapel and the songs.

I’ve been debating with myself on if this is something we are going to do.  I’m the only one in the family who is even thinking it is a possibility.  I’d really rather not and so sat down to see if the reason’s to do it were enough for me to go through the effort.

The service won.

1. Gpa wanted it.

2. I can honor Gpa by doing it.

3. His friends in Ft. Worth will be able to remember him and say good-bye.

So I made the call and will meet with the pastor on Sunday for a service on Tuesday.

And this morning, I thought of the best reason to have the service;

I’ll hear stories about Gpa that I would never know if I do not do this.

Call Me, Anytime

It’s really nice when people tell you that you can call them at anytime. It shows they care.  But I’m not going to do it.  For a number of reasons.

I don’t remember who all said I could.

I’m up but I don’t want to talk or have much to say.

Just because my sleep schedule is messed up doesn’t mean I want to mess up your sleep schedule.

I believe middle of the night calls should be reserved for emergencies.  I’m not having one and it wouldn’t be nice to get your adrenaline flowing.

So I’ll piddle around the computer, house or play some music and then go back to sleep.

I do appreciate the offer though.

Quieter Than a Mouse

I’ve been asked if I’m sleeping better.  Well, yes and no.  I don’t sleep through the night but I have grabbed a nap or two.  I also go to bed at 8pm if I’m tired.

I don’t have to get up and take care of Gpa, but I am still listening for him.  Or maybe it’s the quietness that is waking me up.

And then there is the scritch, scritch of the mouse or mice living in the oven.  I hear them just fine.  I have set a trap and we’ll see how long it takes to catch the critters.

My daughter thinks the solution is to get a cat.  Um, no, I’m not ready to add any new responsibilities.

One daughter will be moving her things out this weekend and the other next weekend.

The house will continue to increase in silence.

That will take some getting used to.

To View or Not To View

I was seven years old the first time I saw a dead body.  My paternal grandmother had had a heart attack.  She lived in Missouri and we lived in New Mexico.  My parents loaded my sister and I into the car and we left as it was getting dark.

Usually when we traveled we would leave as it was getting light. So as we set out, it had a bit of adventure to it.  And not for the first or last time, my dad had to tell me, “Laura, be quiet and go to sleep.”

I do not remember how long my grandmother was in the hospital.  This was during a time when children were not allowed in.  So those of us too young, had endless days of passing time, waiting for adults to get home to give us a report.

I complained to my mother that I wanted to see my grandmother.  My mother replied, that grandmother had just come out for a visit and I should be happy with that.  It was not the same thing.

For the next time I saw my grandmother was at the funeral.  At the appointed time, we got in line and walked past the casket. Even with my limited knowledge of death, I could tell that my grandmother was not there.  This was just a body.  And it looked sad and forlorn.  I did not know where my grandmother was, I just knew she was not here.

We didn’t have a viewing for Gpa, he wants to be cremated. At least one friend has expressed sorrow for not being able to see him one last time and I am sorry for that.  I hope the posters with his pictures and time spent talking about him will help ease her grief.

I did see him one last time.  I wasn’t expecting to have to look at him when I went to the funeral home.  But I guess they needed to verify they were going to be cremating the right body.  (Like how many bodies did I have at my house?)

They were so busy, they asked if I would be OK viewing him in the make up area, which was right there as you stepped off the elevator.  I didn’t want to wait for a room to open up.  I had already be there much longer than I thought I would.

Yes, it was him.  Or more specifically, it was his body.  He was not there.  It was sad to look at him.  He didn’t have his hat (cap) on his head.  I can’t remember the last time I shaved him so he had a scraggily beard.  And his face was gaunt, full of angles.

Maybe it would have been better to let others see he isn’t here. And to say good-bye.  Hopefully the celebration helped.

Still Sunday

Yesterday, I got up and did somethings around the house until it was time for church.  I had packed things for Goodwill and gathered items for the celebration.  I had planned plenty of time to load up the car and stop at Goodwill.

However, I opened the violin case and played a couple of songs a couple of times.

I still stopped at Goodwill and was late to church.  I came in and heard the sermon.  “Timing is Everything”  haha.

I brought in the items after coffee hour and headed to my first massage I got for Christmas.

Went back to church for our come and go.

Oh the ladies had done a superb job of setting up the posters and putting the food out.  We ate inside, looked at the posters, toured the garden and sang in the pavilion.

Friends and family came and went.  Cleaned up and was told to take all the food.  Almost wish I had bought the freezer instead of the violin.  Almost but not quite.

The girls were already at the house when I got home.  They helped get all the food in the house then told me they wanted to watch a show. I was thinking they were going to watch last weeks.  I looked at them and saw they were choosing tonight’s episode.

OH, it’s still Sunday.  What a long day.

It was good, we truly celebrated Gpa’s life.

A Celebration of Life

Today I’ll be making some posters for tomorrows celebration.  I also plan to make a bread pudding with the last of the cookies.

At the last moment, I’ve been telling people to wear red, which is Gpa’s  favorite color, or to wear their favorite color.  I am going to go through his clothes and pull out all the things that are red.  If someone didn’t get the message, they can pick out one of his things and wear red after all.

My daughter told me yesterday that people are most worried about her and I being the most upset.  But we aren’t really.  Partly because it isn’t really true yet, and partly because the end was as good as the life he lived.  This isn’t a tragedy, there isn’t anything to mourn.  He lived and died the way he wanted to without bringing harm (or much) to others.

He has truly set a high standard, one I hope to continue.

We’ll be on the pavilion if the weather is nice otherwise we’ll move to the kitchen where he spent many happy hours drinking his and other’s coffee.

Come and go Celebration of Life for Grandpa on Sunday from 3:30-6:30 at
Our Saviour Episcopal Church
1616 North Jim MIller Rd
Dallas, TX  75217
in lieu of flowers make donations to
Our Saviour Community Garden
1616 North Jim MIller Rd
Dallas, TX  75217
Hope you can come.

A Little Self Care

When a loved one dies, the to-do list shifts.  Gpa had created a book shortly after grandmother died(94).  It had all the information in it  that we would need at the time of his demise.

Um the directive wasn’t enough to keep the paramedics from having to perform CPR.  I felt that since he thought it was a DNR, that should have been respected.  But I didn’t argue,  they were just following the rules they have to follow.  Fortunately, Gpa was already gone.  He would have hated being in the hospital hooked up to machines and tubes and such.

Anyway, Wednesday was filled with going to the funeral home and making last arrangements.  Yesterday, a couple of friends wanted to come over so I only scheduled  to make calls in regards to Gpa.

For me, the house is in such a state of ‘do it later’ as I cared for Gpa that the piles waiting for attention are overwhelming.  I told myself I only had to pick 2.

So the computer chair in my room covered with clothes I can’t wear, and the bedside table that is stacked so high, I would knock my glasses or phone to the floor, were what I had to do.

The computer chair was easy, I got a back and wrote ‘Give Away” on it and put the clothes in it.  There were a couple of items that I thought the girls might like so I set those in Gena’s room.  There was also a Land’s End polo the wrong color/size for me.  I’ve set it aside to see if I can return it for something more suitable.

Last night I started to get hungry and wondered why.  I looked at the clock and it was 5pm.  If Gpa had been here, I would have already been in the kitchen cooking.  So I took a break and ate.

This morning, I put the bed linen in  the washer.  I cannot say when they have been changed.  I know I have but it’s been a few months.  They are drying now and I”ll put them back on the bed.

It is strange to just have myself to look after,  and it’s nice to be getting the piles in order.  Today I’m going to clean off the front table that has become a staging area.

And I’ll make a few more phone calls and maybe make the posters for Sunday.

The best however, has been taking time to visit with friends and family and share stories of Gpa.  Laughter has been ringing in the house.