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Dec 312008
 

We got to the church early, but Mom’s oldest sister had already beat us there. I asked the service director to take photos of the flowers but could not bring myself to take them or to have him take any of Mom. (I know this is odd coming from someone, whose family, Dad’s side, does this and who also collects these photos. I just could not think about looking at those photos ever again. Besides I have a great photo of Mom and Dad together from two weeks before that I will also keep near by.)

The church was still decorated for Christmas but she loved Christmas all her life so it was fitting. The flowers were beautiful. The small church filled up quickly. I apologize to everyone that came I was a bit numb. We do appreciate your coming and all of your kind words. I just can’t seem to remember them all. The one that sticks out the most is my cousins little boy (he’s five) giving her a Doc Hudson car, they had a little joke between them where my Mom said she was Lightning McQueen and he said he was and she was Doc Hudson (cause she was an old guy). Mom continued to laugh about that for the past few years since he said it. He also said the other day when he was told Kaffy died, that “she was and angel now and that’s the best.” So true.

So many people came to celebrate Mom’s life and to share their sympathy with us. At one point I glanced out the window and saw people lined up outside the church in the cold to come in and see us. So many people from Dad’s work came, Mom’s lifetime of friends and people she had touched had come. My best friends came and all the people in my office. I was overwhelmed by it all.

The service was very touching. Her granddaughters both took part. The oldest read a poem about grandmothers that was so fitting and the youngest played one of Mom’s favorite hymns. The pastors both knew my parents and knew what to say. That fact alone made the service more meaningful than having someone just repeating what we told them in an interview the night before. It was so touching to have the minister get choked up during the service because he truly cared for the person he was there to speak about.

The graveside service was brief as it was so cold and windy. We had a bagpipe player playing while we came to the grave and she played Amazing Grace as we left.

This has been one of the hardest and saddest days of my life and I made it through it, mostly.

Dec 302008
 

I woke up feeling worse and with white spots in the back of my throat so I called the doctor and made an appointment, even though my preferred physician was not available. They did a culture and I was told I did not have strep throat. Good not contagious. But I did have to go have blood drawn. So I headed back into town to have blood tests. Mom would not have liked me letting myself get sicker.

Boy, today was hard. I kept wanting to pick up the phone and call Mom (I guess I will never stop feeling like that). We headed over to Dad in the afternoon. We went through pictures to make collages of Mom for people to remember her during the service tomorrow. We made two (could have made a bunch more).

In doing this I decided I am going to finally sit down and scan all our family photos into the computer. That way I have copies and can look at them anytime and my nieces can one day get the originals. Scans are fine with me. I told Dad I will come over and do them there. No need to drag it all off to my house, besides we can sit down together and go through the memories together.

After we got our posters done, mostly, we headed out to the funeral home for a private viewing with Mom. The viewing and service will be together tomorrow. She looked really good (one of the advantages of having people who knew her work with her at the end). Her hairdresser came and did her hair for us. The flowers were very nice.

I got through this far. I might be able to get through tomorrow. But what about the next day or the day after that?

Dec 292008
 

We met with the funeral home today, Labs Funeral Home.

The folks who are running the funeral home go to our church and know mom and dad well. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do only hours after watching my mother die. I am glad we were there for Dad. It has to be hard for him to do this after loosing his wife and best friend of 45 years. He just seemed lost as we all were.

I came home and asked Beth if thought her brother could step up when the time comes for her to bury her mother as I know she will not be able to do it.

This experience tells me a couple of things. Plan your funeral out from beginning to end what casket, what vault, service, everything. Don’t necessarily pre-pay just pre-plan. As some small funeral homes like this one simply go out of business before you die and you and your family are out the money paid for a service that cannot be done. So set up a funeral trust with your bank and/or get at the very least 10 to 15 thousand dollars of life insurance to pay for your final disposition.

Other than buying a new car or home paying for a funeral will be one of the most expensive things we’ll ever have to buy in our life times. And for the most part those of us that have to go through with it will be numb and unable to make cost effective decisions. We were asked over and over again what Mom would have wanted. We had some idea and we had each other to bounce our thoughts off of otherwise we would have been lost. I don’t want anyone to have to go through that for me. So sometime this year I will be pre-planning and setting up a trust to pay for it.