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2013/03/29

How do we know about death?


This week my 85 year old Uncle passed away. The girls went to the funeral, can we all say new experience, I did not think they could ask so many questions. The first question that started the trip out to the funeral parlor "Mom who do we call if you die"?  911  "What do I say"? My mom died and the address. "What do I do with you"?  Plant me in the back yard with the dogs, but I am sure the EMT will take me." How do we take you to the big house"?  You don't they do. "How do they know"?  Those were before we left the drive way. By the time we got there I had to tell them who everyone was and how they were related to me.  The girls have met many of the extended family but they only remember one. My Aunt Bonnie who has to stand tall to measure 4'9. My youngest is just taken by the fact she is old and shorter than her. She says she is the only one in America that is shorter than her. Now by the time I explain every relative and how they are related then connect the dots to make them see the whole picture, I am ready for a nap. Now the question of why the body does not stink? Do they burn or bury? It was a military funeral because he fought in the Koren war. So I had to explain all the traditional ceremonial things involved in a military funeral and the guns being shot into the air. One girl was shocked that we shot rifles at funeral and will they shoot people. What was inside the flag? One of them thought the body's ashes where in it. NO it is folded that way and given to the family. The body will go into the ground. Now I am not sure how I should talk about these kinds of things as I have never had to explain the ceremony surrounding the death of a human in America. I don't even remember it being explained to me. I just know it. But at some point I lean toward humor and sarcasm to get through it. But at the Wake one of the relatives has a seizure and the room erupts into a structured chaos. Phones are pulled out and others are yanking tables and chairs out of the way a nurse amongst us  goes into action. As the EMT are taking her to the hospital my girls are stunned as they have never witnessed this sort of thing and I am having a hard time explaining that it is not life threatening and it just looks bad to see someone have one. Now we are all worried about my Mom as she is the oldest Matriarch in the family and it was her brother that passed. It was a very long day and I have not recovered completely from it. Now I have to plan Easter, and then write down every family member and phone number so my kids can know who they should call when I die. It sort of feels like I am planning my own long sleep. The things we never think of but must.        

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