Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Three Story Life Farewell

We're burying Dad this week. He died in November, and the ashes have been at home until I passed the urn along to my big brother. In preparation for selling the house on Drummond Island, most of the offspring are on the island clearing out, tidying up. Since most are there along with Dad's ashes, my sister called the county to prepare the site. Feels rushed. The original plan was to coordinate this for later summer, early autumn.

It's always too soon, isn't it? Plans for this week changed abruptly Sunday when I heard the intent to bury Dad on Thursday, and I decided that I couldn't not be there. I don't want to wake up one morning down the road and feel bad. As if. Meanwhile, I have to prepare for making my brother share this long road to good-bye.

Our mother died in 1998. Scott won't get out of the car when we visit her grave. 20 years down the long road, he is mostly uncommunicative. I sometimes think he knows Dad has joined Mom, but there is no way to be sure. I told him Dad died. Dementia prevents him from keeping this knowledge. Some days he says it's over repeatedly. Some days he says back the way it was.

My closest friends think I'm crazy to make this trip at all, albeit with no other family in the car for 750 miles round. I have to pack mounds of incontinence supplies. Scott may or may not find closure, and even if he does, it's momentary. I protected him from the physicality of our parents leaving their bodies. That may not have been a good idea. I'm questioning everything. I pretend I can evaluate his needs. I cannot. I am wandering away from identifying my own needs.

All part of life's rich pageant. All grist for the writer's mill. In a life wherein I start writing again, this trip will be the closing scene. As it happens, the day Dad moves to his final place is the anniversary of us moving from A Three Story Life to A Two Story Life. May 26. It's also his brother and best friend's birthday. His brother died in 1998 also.

In that light on that stage, I imagine the items that might go in the grave with Dad's urn. Like ancient deceased expected to need stuff to negotiate the afterlife. I can't find my medicine bag (the collected donated items to help me kick cancer) that has the saxophone reed Dad gave me.

What I need to do is envision what I need to consign to earth. Leave whatever does not serve me on the Island when we get on the ferry. Use the mantra my lovely friend Carol taught me. All will be well.

I'm taking the golf ball.

Wish us peace.