Friday, May 26, 2006

Mother's Day in the Morgue

Something to know about me, if you don't already. Mother's Day is my least favorite day of the year. It reminds me of the many ways I've failed my children. It reiterates that I was not the mother they needed me to be as they were growing up. I am inundated with sadness, self-pity, and regret for the week preceeding the dreaded day. (that said, I had a wonderful weekend with my older children this year, it was relaxed, fun, and no pressure for me to win best mother award or anything like that).

Apparently, I am not alone. Two moms, two suicides, two sets of children left wondering. I was certain I recognized the grown son of one of the women, he was so familiar to me. It took several days, then I knew it was his grief I recognized, not him personally. aay. It was a crappy week here.

Suicide by helium. There's a new one. A chaplain was here for another service (meth addicted dad found in field, hmm) and he told us about a house call he'd gone on with the police on mother's day. The woman died by putting a plastic bag over her head and hooking up a tank of helium to it. Apparently it's supposed to make for a calm death, no struggling or panicking when you don't get air. I don't know if that's true, but I do know it turns you green. Weird. Anyway it didn't take long for us to realize that she was one of our suicide moms. One grown child, three minor children. What a selfish thing to do.

Suicide by train. Yep, I said train. We were thinking she'd be in three sections: head, torso, legs, but she wasn't. She looked fine except for the head injury and even it didn't look fatal. Guess it was. So, my daughter told me that her friend's dad is who found this woman. He works for the railroad, repairs signal lights that go out. He got the call that a light was out and went to repair it and there she was. The signal being out was unrelated. He was pretty messed up about the whole thing. I told my daughter not to tell him it was suicide, that would really push him over, I'd think. Guess this one had been threatening for years, suffered from mental illness. It's a little easier for me than the helium one. But still, next mother's day for these children (adult or not) will suck. I can't imagine on my worst day being that selfish and thinking so little of my children. I just don't understand it. As my little grandson would say "di-sgusting", the word is all drawn out as he shakes his small red head, hands on hips. It's what I say too, "di-sgusting".

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Afraid of the living, not the dead

I am still shaking like a leaf. I had a little excitement here this morning. Some guy came in and wanted info on cremating his mom. He made me nervous from the start, because he didn’t have a car, he smelled bad, and he was jittery. I actually thought I might have bad breath or something, cuz he startled a little when I handed him a price list, so I thought I must really have coffee breath. Then he asked to use the facilities. I realized after a few minutes when he was making quite a bit of noise that he’d left the bathroom but he didn’t come up to the front to go out. At the ten minute mark I called Steve, who didn’t think much of it but still chatted with me for a few minutes so I wasn't nervous. He laughed that I should've realized when the guy was taking in a paperback that he'd be awhile. At the twenty minute mark, I could hear him in the back. I was scared and called Steve back. He stayed on the line while I looked in the bathroom, but the guy wasn’t there. I could hear him in the building in the back room, so hung up from Steve and called 911. As I was hanging up from them, a pastor (who used to be a cop) came in. I’d never met him before, but as soon as he said pastor, I was trying to hold back tears and told him I’d just hung up from 911 and that someone was in the building. He was very nice and went thru the building with me but we didn’t find the guy. I think he went out the back while I was talking to the operator, cuz I could still hear him when I first called. Part of me still doesn’t actually believe that he went out, but I’m sure he probably did as we’ve looked everywhere (several times by now). Anyway, a policeman came and he knew the pastor, which made me feel even better. ) I was pretty shook up, but now my funeral director is back and it’s much better. I was shaking for over an hour. Funny that it’s not the dead who scare me as much as the living here! It’s not the best neighborhood and I’m often here alone and weird people seem to be drawn here. What a combination.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

young mom

It’s the funeral now of a young mom and wife. We’ve got a full house. Her husband and young son came in last week to talk about some arrangements, because she was sick and dying. The husband is a big teddy bear of a man and when he cried, geez, it was all I could do to not. They’ve stuck in my heart, the man and boy who are left behind. After she died, he brought in clothes, jewelry, and makeup for her. It’s a beautiful dress, but not entirely great for a casket, shows too much skin. He asked us to make her beautiful, one last time. Yesterday, I helped Tom with her makeup. Yep, I’ve come a long way from my first week here. She’s actually the first person who I’ve touched, well personally like that. I mean, I’ve touched people, but it’s to move them, not to actually touch them. A family friend did her hair and Tom did her makeup, but I wanted to help, so he let me. He does great makeup and it wasn’t that I thought I could do it better, I can’t, I just wanted to do something for her. Lipstick doesn’t go on well over the waxy stuff on her lips. It wouldn’t stick as well as I’d have liked. She still looked very nice though. Her mom, today, thought she looked wonderful. I’m glad she was so pleased. I haven’t talked to her husband today, probably won’t, it’s my job to sit quietly, answer phones, and smile as people peer in my window. Mom was a wail-er, boy did she wail…loudly. Maybe I would too if it were my child, I don’t know. The sister is talking about her now with a bunch of girlfriends. They’ve got really fun stories about her, the laughter stops abruptly and the tears begin again. The group disperses quietly with murmurs of bathroom stops before going to the cemetery. It’s a beautiful sunny day, for that I’m glad. She was so young to die, it’s nice to see that she’s sent off in sunshine. From the conversations I overhear, the young woman would be very pleased with the weather. The boy runs through here with some other children as though he owns the place, he’s king for the day and he knows it. I’m glad this has turned out so well, the husband will be able to remember it as a wonderful send off.