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Thursday, March 9, 2023

 As we drove away from the graveside ceremony, mom's casket sat atop the gearing that lowers her into the final resting place.

It sat stark against the gray day that felt exceedingly colder than the thermostat's 33 degrees.

That's how it ends. 

I remember the same feeling from leaving my dad's gravesite 38 years ago.

We gathered there after the church ceremony, where the priest seemed to turn every screw to sorrow, more sorrow until hitting pain.

But that's not how it ends. It ended whn my dementia ate my mom's brain, when she ceased to be the mother I knew, the intellectual, the cook, the raconteur. 

Godamnit, my mom was awesome. She was hysterical and kind and smart enjoyed her martinis.

Yet the language of the funeral cannot celebrate that. It's always about the last this, the last that.

Thankfully, Kid was in town and we found our time to laugh -- just as mom would have. Our cousins took their turns at the morbid nature of it all regardless of how my mom lived life.

It's a good family. She lives on in us.

We shared drinks afterwards that included intimate friends who are as family, Tom, Scott, Mike Boone. Great people all.

But now it's over. I've never been one to revere the body as, even if you're religious, serves only as the vessel of the person. Once soul and spirit and intellect are gone, that vessel is worm food at best. Even in a $6,000 casket and a $4,000 vault, all paid for by burial insurance. Ten grand we buried in the ground never to see again. (If someone digs her up 10,000 years from now, they'll think she was a queen of some society.)

When my dad died in 1984, I returned to work. My boss, a brusque man, asked how I was doing. I said, OK. He said, no you're not. Your life has changed forever. Then I flipped 400 burgers for lunch. Understanding that life has changed forever.

Life changed again this last Friday.

And no fancy casket sitting above its final resting place is going to change that.

Peace unto Ukraine and thanks unto you my brothers and sisters.


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