We are planning a funeral service for Sig’s mother. She was 91 and died on the couch watching late night tv Saturday night. Thank God. (Not Thank God that she died, of course — but Thank God that she died peacefully while watching a re-run of MASH.)
She hasn’t been in good health for the best part of a year; and her hearing has deteriorated beyond the help of her hearing aid. Never a particularly serene woman, the loss of her independence has made her flat-out cranky and disagreeable although she feigns a charming, gracious public persona.
Ever notice how an abrupt death puffs up the importance of all of the details immediately leading up to it?
For months, she had wanted a coffee table and a rocker-glider combo that could cozy up to her ottoman. As it happened on the Wednesday before the Saturday, she agreed to go shopping and miracles of miracles — found both.
For months, she had been lectured on the use of the tv remote by technicians called in to fix her tv. On Thursday before the Saturday, she learned click tv, click power, to turn on; click tv, click power, to turn off. She did it a couple of times, and said, Why does it have to be so hard, this I get.
For a week or so, she had put off talking to her grandson about his plans to visit because she couldn’t hear him on the phone. On Friday before the Saturday, she used her new phone with a built-in screen that let her read what she couldn’t hear and they had a leisurely conversation. On the Saturday, I got her a new protein drink to boost her energy, magnetic strips to attach her calendar to the refrigerator, a couple of new tv dinners and a half of dozen free wildlife-foundation holiday cards that she loved.
Early Sunday after the Saturday, we heard the news. Which is why we are now planning a funeral service. She’ll be in her favorite outfit, just back from the cleaners, and her black high heel pumps. We chose a picture to go with the obituary of her in her thirties, a little grainy but okay and stay away from anything overtly religious. We keep saying, Yeah, I think she’d like this. Or I think she’d like that.
A lot of love just sits there in the details.