Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #51
–Sessions: 40b My trip to my mother’s funeral
It was time to travel to attend my mother’s funeral. My wife had recovered and was able to drive so I could leave home. I would be gone for three days. When I had discussed my first trip with Elsie, she told me this was a ‘ring of fire’. I thought about that a lot. I had decided what I wanted to do about my mother’s end of life care and I had done it. I had contacted all my siblings, they all knew what was going on. They all knew there was going to be a funeral. I had made sure I was not manipulated by their issues. Because of this I wasn’t stressed as I left home for this trip. I took notes of what I experienced during this trip so I could review it all with Elsie during future sessions.
As I waited for my flight I looked at the books in the airport bookstore. I didn’t expect to be inspired during this trip, but I found two guitar books that I really liked. After my flight landed, I saw some stained glass panels in the airport. I liked the Celtic designs. I got my rental car and drove to the hotel where Crackle was staying. Crackle had flown in the night before. I had offered to drive all of us around during this trip because I wasn’t sure Snap or Crackle could afford to rent a car. It was raining and snowing which made driving challenging. When I got to Crackle’s hotel room, Snap was already there. I had not seen Crackle in twenty-two years due to her choice to live in such a remote location.
I drove the three of us to the funeral home that afternoon. We viewed my mother’s body. Snap wanted to be alone with her for a while. Crackle wanted to talk to me about the obituary. I don’t really care for obituaries, I don’t really understand who they are written for, but this seemed to be important to Crackle, and I was asked to review the draft. I noticed that some of what had been written wasn’t accurate or even true. Pop was not mentioned. I thought carefully about this. I’m sure most people would tell me that I had a duty to make sure the obituary was accurate. I thought it was sad that, as part of our mother’s death, my siblings felt the need to continue their conflicts even when writing the obituary.
I refused to be pulled into their ongoing drama. If I had tried to tell them what they could and couldn’t write in the obituary I would have been taking sides in their conflicts. I had decided what I wanted to do as my part of our mother’s end of life care, and this didn’t include fighting with my siblings over an obituary. I told Crackle that I was not going to offer an opinion as to the content of the obituary.
After the viewing the funeral director reviewed the schedule with us for the service the next day. I drove the three of us back to Crackle’s room. They worked more on the obituary. I took them to dinner and then we went to the storage unit. I was surprised by how much furniture and stuff was in there. I wondered how it would all be dealt with.
The next day I picked them up and we went again to the funeral home. We viewed my mother again and the funeral director removed the jewelry she had on and gave it to Snap. The casket was closed and loaded into the hearse. I drove to the church, following the hearse. Snap and I help unload the casket and carry it up the stairs into the church.
The church had wonderful stained glass. One of the windows was a Tiffany. While the service was being setup, the pastor talked to Crackle and Snap about their religions. I didn’t know either of them was religious. Through the windows I could see the snow falling through the trees with no leaves. The service started. Several of the people that had cared for my mother were in attendance. Snap wanted to speak. Of our mother, he said, “she isn’t in pain anymore.” I agreed with that. I helped load the casket back into the hearse. Carrying my mother’s casket was a very emotional moment.
After the service, I was driving all three of us back to Crackle’s motel. Crackle was on her cell phone talking to the local newspaper about the obituary. It turns out that Crackle had not asked about the cost of having the obituary actually put into the paper. I overheard this conversation while I was driving. I was puzzled that the issue of cost had not come up before this. Crackle was clearly upset that after the effort to get it written, it would take $437 to get it published. I asked Crackle what she was going to do. Crackle told me she didn’t have the money.
The road was very slick from the rain and melting snow. I had little experience driving in snow and the rental car was pulling to the right. I made a decision and gave my credit card to Crackle, who called the newspaper back and gave my credit card number to pay for the publishing. The obituary seemed to mean a lot to Crackle so I wanted to make it happen.
When we got back to Crackle’s motel, Snap left for work. As soon as the door had closed, Crackle apologized to me for not inviting me to her wedding. Crackle’s wedding was the farthest thing from my mind, I hadn’t thought about it in years. I don’t bring this up because I’m upset that I wasn’t invited. I bring it up to illustrate how much my mother’s issues affected her children. At that time, many years ago, my mother required that Crackle not invite me to her wedding.
Any reasonable person will think I must have done something horrible to make my own mother not want me to attend my sibling’s wedding. However, like the time she cut me off during my last quarter at college, I hadn’t done anything. The fact that Crackle wanted to apologize for not inviting me, after more than twenty years, told me how much this had affected Crackle. My mother acted out on Crackle and that had a very negative effect on Crackle. A negative affect that lasted for more than two decades. I assured Crackle that I wasn’t upset about it.
It is sad how much damage my mother’s issues did to her children. Damage that continues to hurt future generations as well.
When I returned to my motel, I texted my wife. My oldest son was looking into apartments and roommates for his second year at college. I was very happy that he was looking into this on his own, handling the apartment search on his own.
The next day I bought several copies of the local newspaper to give to Crackle. I met Snap and Crackle and drove them to the church where the service was held to take pictures. We next went to the storage unit where I took photos of the contents. Then I took Crackle to the airport.