Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My mom's not dead, but when can you cremate her?

It's the weirdest thing I've dealt with yet. A woman called over the weekend, her mom is dying, what do we need to do. I called her back Monday morning and said inform the hospital that we'll be handling it, you don't have to worry about anything else. Ok.
She called again yesterday, Monday.
"Mom's not dead yet, but how soon will we be able to get her cremated remains back?"
"Excuse me?"
"Well, we have alot of family in town for this and they'll be needing to leave by next Tuesday."
I can't believe what I'm hearing. Is Mom conscious? If not, maybe we can just send her straight to the retort and she won't notice. Maybe the doctor could give her a little pain medication so she won't feel the burning.
Out loud, I say "We'd need you to come in and fill out some paperwork, then we'd need to get the death certificate to her doctor, then to the health department before she can be cremated. The process usually takes 4-5 business days."
"Can it be done any faster?"
What the heck is the matter with you? You're talking about your own mom. Is there a little repressed anger here? Did mom beat you with a coat hanger? What's the big dang rush?

I tell her what info we'll need and tell her again that the hospital will call us, she instead wants to be the one to call, so we don't have to wait for them. I explain that this is the procedure. She is somewhat appeased and finally lets me off the phone. I put together a folder and tell Tom how weird I think that was.

Later in the day, she calls me back.
"Do you do memorial folders that we hand out to guests?"
"Yes, we have several styles to choose from."
"How much notice do you need? Can you get them done right away or does it take a day or two?" I'm getting down right angry now. "We can make them immediately, it won't add any time to this whole process."
"Well, do I need to make an appointment for tomorrow to come in there and settle all this, because she won't make it through the night."
"Why don't we wait until tomorrow to schedule it?" I don't know why I wouldn't give her an appt time, we do pre-needs, but this was somehow so different. So wrong.

Tuesday morning and the first thing we do is check incoming faxes. Well? Did she die? No. Whew! I'm rooting for her. Hang on, old gal. If it's all you can do, make 'em all mad and die in your own timing!

Tuesday 10:30, van pulls into the parking lot.
"Hi, I spoke with you yesterday about my mom."
"Oh, I'm sorry, we didn't get the phone call yet."
"Oh no, she's not dead, we just wanted to get everything done. This is my sister."
Tom comes into the office. He looks at me, I look at him. We exchange an unspoken question. I hand him the folder and introduce him to the sisters.
I hear them now in the arrangement room. Why am I so disgusted? Is this really about her or is there something about me that I'm placing on her? Why've I had so dang much therapy that now I'm questioning my motives when a stranger is involved? Why is she so anxious for her mother to die? I hear one of the sisters say "will this take long, cuz we left a baby in the car." What is the matter with these women? Can I just slap them both now?

They're gone now. Tom is as disgusted as I. When they left, he just sat in front of me and said "well, the funeral's Friday. I hope Mom holds on till Saturday!" Me too! I told him I'd call the hospital and make sure they don't let the daughters in the room with pillows. No smothering allowed. Everytime the phone rings I hope it's not the hospital calling about her.
I'm so mad I could just spit. Don't they have any respect? Tom said once the children even brought the parent's clothing, and then the parent lived. Ha! I hope this lady pulls through. No dying, no funeral, no cremation!

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