First things first – big, giant thank you’s to everyone in the dog, cat, hamster, and oh everything else blogospheres for all of your love and support in the last few days. Yes, I am a basket case. There are so many things to do, and so many emotions getting in the way.
In the midst of my very worst moments, there are occasional glimpses of absurdity that force me to laugh when all I want to do is cry. Today I had one of those moments.
Klaus was taken to the funeral home on Monday evening. That is a story unto itself. There is no guide really to choosing a funeral home. After Klaus had passed away in my arms on Sunday morning, I felt completely adrift. What exactly do you do at that moment? The show is over, the curtain has come down, and the stagehands want to start cleaning up so they can move on to the next gig. And you are standing there, sad, lonely, and completely confused. I looked around the room that had been my home for 2 weeks and gathered my things. The bag of Klaus’ clothing that he was wearing on that awful morning he was admitted to the hospital. The remainders of the food that had been brought for me that was mostly uneaten. My own handbag, now bursting with everything I had needed (and much I did not). It all seemed surreal. I asked the nurses to give the remaining balloons to someone else in the ICU who might enjoy them (yes they looked a tiny bit sad as the helium no longer kept them at full mast, but they might make someone smile and I would have looked truly pathetic walking out of the hospital with them). And then what? I stood outside of Klaus’ room and just waited. A chaplain materialized out of nowhere (they did this a lot) and handed me my “grief packet”. So… I leave behind the love of my life and in exchange I get a bag of stinky clothing and a grief packet. Damn.
The nagging question of “exactly what do I do now” never really gets answered.
Call a funeral home.
Can you guide me in that choice?
Can you at least tell me some place that doesn’t bury people in the backyard and fill the urn with cigarette ashes?
So I guess I should go now and read my grief packet.
Damn. Damn. Damn.
Klaus’ wish (and mine as well) has always to be cremated. So I narrowed down the list of funeral homes to those with the word “cremation” in the title. And then I chose scientifically – by covering my eyes and pointing to one. I called, they were lovely on the phone, then I called the hospital to inform them of my choice (who knew you called Admitting for this?) and then waited.
And waited. And waited.
No one called that day. As the hours ticked by I realized that they might not have my correct phone number. So I called myself – bingo – and waited for my next contact.
All of which brings me to today. The facility is lovely. My funeral director is lovely. There is no pressure at all to buy an expensive urn. All of the paperwork I need to complete has been prepared for me. This is actually the simplest part of the entire transaction, except for the fact that I am transacting my husband. All seems very well until it is time to pay.
My funeral director disappeared for a moment and when she returned I could see that something wasn’t right. She turned over the paper with the invoice. She stammered, and apologized. I’m sure I did the Airedale-head-cocked-to-the-side thing. This sort of thing doesn’t happen, she said. To which I looked directly at her and said in a loud, clear voice, “It’s $666, isn’t it?”.
$666. Yes indeed-y. I looked around for Klaus and I laughed out loud, reassuring her that not only was this ok, it was fantastic and hilarious. Badass to the end – Klaus would have LOVED that.
So thanks for the laugh Klaus, I am SURE this was your doing…