On Saturday we had my mom’s celebration of life. We left early and hoped to drive around while Everly had a power nap in the car, our plan worked and Everly was out for 45 minutes while we drove around the Nanaimo countryside. When we were finding a parking spot and it was time to get out of the car Everly woke up, how does she know these things even in her sleep? The child has a knack for knowing where and when the action is and she doesn’t like to miss out, she gets if from her Papa and her great grandpa. I felt the same way about going to my mom’s celebration of life as I did about driving to the hospital to have Everly. I know that sounds weird but hear me out.
I just did not want to do have to do it. In both cases I knew it was something that had to be done and that I really didn’t have a choice, but I wanted to avoid it. I could feel it in my bones how badly I wanted to avoid it. I told B, both times, I don’t want to do this. Well you have to, he said, both times. It was a cold day. I had forgot to pack my coat when we left for Nanaimo one week earlier (but I did remember to pack Everly’s bathing suit- wtf?), needless to say I was cold, but then I am always cold. I felt the wind on my face where it was still wet with tears, it stung my eyes. We hurried to the restaurant and were greeted by friends and family that had already arrived. I sighed with relief.
I am not sure what I was expecting, but obviously I expected it to be far worse than it was. Really, when you think of it how could it get worse, she had already died. I had already made arrangements for her remains and we picked out where she would be buried and what she would be buried in. It doesn’t get any more real than that does it? Maybe it can. When you are going through those motions it is easy to distance yourself and just get the job done, well it was easy for me. I remember when we were at the cemetery we witnessed an internment (fancy name for putting your dead ass into the ground) and I was sad for the family. It was a huge gathering of family and I thought how sad for them. I was saddened also by the trinkets left on people’s graves. There were letters to “gumpa” and toys that were obviously meant for Children for Christmas and of course all kinds of flowers, stones, statues and religious objects. I nearly cried at the weight of seeing other people’s grief, the tears came into my eyes. But I sucked them back in. I was so focused on my task at hand that it didn’t really, seriously occur to me that this is why we were here as well. It has occurred to me since.
I hate the look of pity on people’s faces when they look at me. I have received that look more times than I can count and each time I have cringed away from it. I handle pity like I handle compliments; I just don’t know what to do with them. And yes I know this means it is something I have to learn to do. I brush off my own grief and look to take care of others who I consider worse off than me. Well now that there are no others in my house worse off than me I have had to look that ugly monster square in the face and I have no scapegoat.
I have been receiving a bit of flack for taking on the responsibility of executing my mom’s estate and accepting a share of the financial responsibilities that have come along with her death. This flack blows my mind. I understand that people are only trying to protect me, but do they not see that this is my responsibility as her adult, eldest child? Because it is. Who else’ s responsibility should it be? Not her parents, I will tell you that much. No parent should ever have to bury their child. And said parent should not have to assume responsibility if their child has a grown and capable eldest child. I could understand if I was under age, had severe mental illness or was in jail (all of which would keep me from legally executing anyway). I hate having to explain myself on this one over and over and over. I do not shy away from responsibility, I face what I have to face and to run away, avoid or make excuses would be immature and irresponsible cowardice.
And on the reverse I have also received a lot of praise, as if I am doing something special or unique. How am I different from any other adult child of a parent who has passed? I’m not. I didn’t expect to have to do this for at least another 20 years, but I knew that one day I was going to have to.
And here is where I again ask that all parents make a will and get life insurance or prearrange your post-death arrangements.