Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Burdens & Birthdays

Today is my 17th BirthING Day. He's survived this long without me killing him, and that alone is a miracle. He's literally half my age, and acts it. We'll see if he survives to age 18. He's made some unwise choices, and carries a lot of perfectionism. If he can't do it right, he just rather assume to not bother. It's causing him problems. It no longer causes me problems so much as him, because I no longer assume responsibility for his choices. Besides he's long become outside the influence of his parents. We're just a couple hard-nosed old people who know nothing. So we left him to his decisions and the accompanying consequences. In turn, he no longer gets anything beyond basic food and shelter from us. It wouldn't surprise me if he has characterized us in an unpleasant manner, but I actually expect that. I figure eventually he'll own his choices and behave accordingly. Till then, I just follow St. Monica's example.

This morning was also the recommittal of my mother's remains in a new resting place. The ground for a new National Cemetery had not yet been broken when Mom left Dad behind. The next closest National Cemetery with space available in 2005 was down in Bushnell - quite the drive from where we are. With the promise of moving her as soon as we could, that's where Mom went. Finally in 2007, the new one opened and Dad was antsy every day, trying to save as much money as he could to get Mom moved. We couldn't just get a moving van and bring Mom to the new place, it had to be done by a funeral home. The exhumation and reburial was at no cost to Dad, but transport was. For his 83rd birthday, my oldest sister got the paperwork going and helped Dad get it done. So today, 2 weeks later, and on my son's birthday, Mom was reburied in the cemetery closer to home. Dad can finally relax and stop fretting about it, worried that he would leave us burdened with moving her.

We met Eileen, one of the volunteer auxilliary women who attend each burial, as a silent witness so no one is ever buried alone. My mother's reburial was not unlike her deathbed and funeral - a mix of every thing we are. Lots of bantering, some ribbing and some solemn moments. I'm sure Eileen did not expect us to be, well..., US. In her beautiful line of work, she sees those left here, suffering in their darkest of days, and probably rarely gets a family that has ample levity to share. We all met at the main building and drove my sister's car to the grave, and I left my camera in the mom-bus. I did have my phone with me though. It's very interesting to see how they do such a job. As they filled in the grave, tamping the dirt, my brother said something about tossing a box of Imitrex in there with her. I had to ask him to explain. He said that she had headaches all the time and was always taking Imitrex, and here they are pounding on her head with a tamper.

Dad didn't fall apart as much as we expected that he would. I think he's just relieved that he has mom closer to home. When we met members of the staff there or the guy from the funeral home, Dad kept referring to us as "her children" like he had no part in creating or raising us. I beg to differ, as I find myself repeating stuff my Dad used to say all the time. He is the reason we all have a sense of humor in the first place. I am thankful that for his birthday a couple weeks ago, the beginning of an unburdening began for him.

1 comment:

Persnickety Ticker said...

Glad that Mom is closer, for you Dad's sake as much as yours. I know it bugged you that she was so far away. Hope you are holding up well.

Can't believe it's been 17 years already. Seems like yesterday. Plus it is making me feel like some old person...which I am not fond of.

In 20 years, he will thank you for all that you have done for him. Even if I have to hold the aluminum bat over his head myself.


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