It is coming up to eight years and one month (but who’s counting) that my Mom has passed away. I guess you never forget what you were doing when you get that phone call to inform you that your mother who was alive one day is gone the next. Going through the roller coaster of circumstances surrounding my Father-in-law’s illness (who thankfully is recovering slowly,) that phone call was a mix blessing. You always think you are prepared for a loved one to leave you - but you’re not. When my sister called me that Friday at 4:43pm, I was sitting at my dining room table, writing up a listing agreement for a one bedroom condo in Coral Springs. I picked up the phone and heard my sister say “Mom’s gone - she died.” I sat there shocked and looked up at my husband Bill and couldn’t speak. As God was so good, got the first flight out the very next day. My sister met me at the airport and we grabbed each other and just wept in the middle of walkway. Funny how you just don’t care about the people around you. Then came the inevitable. Funeral arrangements.
My mother was smart enough to plan ahead. We immediately went to the local funeral home - you know that funeral home, the one who is on the bottom of the calendar you get every year from church. My Mom’s wish was to be cremated and no wake. Thank God. Went to enough of them growing up. At this point, my head is numb (not because the weather at the time was 15 degrees) and spinning. I can remember Susan and I walking into a hallway and sitting outside an office. It felt more like going to the principals office rather meeting with a funeral director. What seemed like forever, a man comes out and says “come on in.” A bit too happy for my taste considering we’re here to make arrangements for my mothers remains.
My sister sits closer to the wall and I’m sitting next to her while the man who doesn’t introduce himself, sits on the other side of the desk. He asks “what can I do for you.” I wanted to say so bad - “a vodka tonic sounds good to me right about now,” but I kept that to myself. As Susan was starting to talk about how my mom had died, it really started to become a reality. Well, I started to sob. Sob like the ugly cry that Oprah talks about. Tears streaming down my face and a ton of snot right behind it. At this point, Susan is now trying to calm me down by holding my hand and telling me it’s ok. Seriously, the man behind the desk never even offered me let alone my sister a tissue. That did not go unnoticed. As I wiped my nose and face on my black leather jacket, Susan looked over and smile. It was ridiculous at this point, the man behind the desk just kept trying to sell us more and more things that my Mom was just not interested in. We could tell that the man behind desk was not happy with us. All he kept saying was, “just sign here.” Being in Real Estate, I read everything and that he did not like. I must have stopped three or four times to say, no - we are not paying for that or that or that. Again, more tears and snot and again - no tissue. Coming to the end of the meeting, and finally signing off on the final paperwork, I could not stop myself asking, “Um…how long are you in the business?” Seriously thinking it had to be only a few days or weeks, he calmly says “twenty five years.” I thought I was going to choke. At that point, Susan and I exchange looks and just started to laugh. Twenty five years? Are you kidding me? Simon Cowell is a angel compared to this guy.
I was going to get up to leave and I happen to look up at a wooden shelf on the wall and see those beautiful urns like the Veterans flag frame/urn as well as some beautiful pottery ones. It suddenly occurred to me that we never talked about what urn my Mom was to be put in. I turned to the man behind the desk and asked “we didn’t pick out an urn for my Mom.” He then said, no pun intended, dead pan “oh, she’ll be in what is like a coffee tin.” What? A coffee tin? At that point, yes, he pulls what had to be a Folgers coffee tin from behind those beautiful urns and says, “something like this.”
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse. It does. We started to laugh, what could you do at that point. Funny how God works in situations. The absurdity of the situation made us laugh. When we got up to leave, Susan looked at the man behind the desk, who never came around to console us in any way, says “do you know you never even gave us your condolences on the passing of our mother.” He then says, “I thought you knew.” Oh at this point, we are laughing walking out the door and sadly, there was a family waiting in the hall. They look at us with a perplexed look and we turn and say - “our Mom died, isn’t that hysterical?” Maybe that wasn’t what we were suppose to say but God was so good to lift our spirits and give us something to smile about. Truly funny how God steps in just when you need Him most. As in the last blog, God had His hands on everything that week and the blessings that came out were unbelievable. Death is no laughing matter, but when things happen to make you laugh when you didn’t think you could, it’s ok. Now when I look back at that day, it doesn’t make me sad, but it makes me smile that God made it so funny for my sister and me. Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time. Miss you Mom.