Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #50
Snap had made contact with a local funeral home. I don’t know how he chose the particular one, but I didn’t have any reason to object to his choice. I had asked Snap, some time ago, if he knew if our mother had a will. I was hoping a will would tell us what she wanted done for her funeral and with her personal property. He told me there was no will. My mother had never told me what here wishes were. Not surprisingly, we couldn’t talk about planning for her own death since we couldn’t talk about anything that had a link to reality.
This meant I would have to depend on my siblings for any information they might have regarding what our mother wanted done. I realized that my siblings could tell me what they wanted and claim it was what my mother wanted, but I had no other options. Snap told me that our mother’s wish was to not be buried in the state she had been living in. He told me that she wanted to be buried in the state she had lived in many years ago. That was a fine thing, but, it had many practical implications.
Snap had asked the local funeral home for an estimate to bury our mother in the state of her choice. There would be charges for airfare, casket, cemetery, plot and assorted fees. This would be at least $8,000 and did not include the cost of a funeral. How would my siblings get to the other state to attend the burial? Could my siblings afford that trip? I was curious how my siblings thought this would get paid for. I called Crackle and told her what Snap was proposing. She was agitated, she felt this was way too much effort and cost. I did not tell her what we should or should not do. She said she would talk with Snap. I was not part of that conversation so I don’t know what they discussed.
I had two phone lines in my house and I could setup a conference call. I had both Snap and Crackle call me so the three of us could discuss this at the same time. Due to the time zone differences this had to be done very late at night for me. The outcome of their discussion was a new plan. Our mother would be embalmed, there would be a viewing and a service locally and then cremation. Her ashes would then be moved to the cemetery where her parents had been buried, which is in the state I was told our mother wanted end up in.
Crackle was living in a place so remote that her ability to travel to the service was limited by when she could arrange transport home. She suggested that Snap and I should film the service and send her the video. I didn’t think that was a good idea. I could tell from all of our conversations that Crackle very much wanted to attend whatever service was arranged. I encouraged her to see when she could travel. There were charges to store the body for each day we waited to have the service. It was getting complicated.
Assuming we went ahead with this plan, how would the ashes get moved to the out of state cemetery? There would have to be arrangements made with the cemetery. There wasn’t time to make those arrangements and arrange for the local service. Snap couldn’t store the ashes in the storage unit I was paying for, that wasn’t allowed. He could store them in his apartment. I had called the local funeral home and had an estimate of $2100 for a viewing. We agreed to call again the next day.
We discussed what would happen if we did have a burial out of state after a local viewing. We didn’t have an estimate for the out of state burial, but it was likely to be a lot of money. Did my siblings want a service locally and out of state at the burial? If we could all travel for a local service, do we need to all travel to the out of state burial? I had looked online and it turns out UPS won’t ship ashes, only the USPS will as registered mail. There were many details to be handled.
Before our next call, I emailed proposing that the ashes be sent to me immediately after the cremation. I would store them in my home until we knew what happened next. Both Snap and Crackle liked this. The local funeral home had called me. It had been several days since our mother had died, and no one had offered to pay for her storage. Something had to be planned and paid for soon.
I had exchanged many emails with Crackle. She very much wanted to be at whatever service was done locally, but she couldn’t travel for at least ten days. Up to this point I had not really pursued all the possible options that the local funeral home could provide. I asked Crackle if she was ok with me contacting the funeral home on my own to get the details I needed. She was.
During our next call Snap told us that the funeral home had embalmed the body because they had to. Crackle told us she could travel to attend a local service in ten days. The plan was that we would attend the local service and after the cremation the ashes would be sent to me. If anything else was going to be done about the ashes that would be planned later.
Snap wanted the funeral service held in a local church. I called the church to find out what could be done. There were charges for the church, the florist, the organist and the persons needed to setup before and cleanup after the service, all adding up to $3100. This was in addition to the costs for the funeral home.
Now that we had agreed when the funeral would be, I could tell the funeral home what we wanted and they could tell me the actual cost. I remember the morning I called them. My wife was recovering from her ankle surgery. Part of the treatment was physical therapy. I had to drive her to and from the appointments which were early in the morning so I could get to work afterwards. I had many volunteer obligations and I was driving my youngest to and from high school each day.
I drove my wife to her physical therapy appointment that day, and stayed in the car. It started to rain. I could hear the rain on the roof of the car. It was surreal. I called the funeral home, seven hundred miles away, to pay for the funeral. Then I drove my wife home and went to work. Later that evening my chest was sore. The next day I was very sad.