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Old 05-21-2020, 12:35 PM
k9bfriender is offline
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5-20-2020, not my favorite day.


So, let me tell you about my day.

The day of my grandmother's funeral. She died two weeks ago, but with her being down in Florida, travel and transport issues, and that they had a service down there (where she had lived exclusively for the last 9 years), we were not able to bring her up to be buried with her husband until this week.

My Aunt and her family lived right next door to her, and my father and sister were able to go down and see her as her health started failing. She was 97, so when she started going, she went pretty fast.

She stayed active her whole life, and even only a couple months before she died, was still out walking every morning. Fortunately, between her health and having her daughter and grand-kids nearby, she never had to enter assisted living, and so my family was able to spend time with her towards the end. She was able to pass at her home, in her own bed, surrounded by her loved ones.

I, being the neglectful grandson that I am, was not able to go to Florida. Even with the shutdown, I still had work to do every day so that we will have a place to return to when we got to reopen. Selfish maybe, but I also have a dozen other people who depend on me. I couldn't get trapped in Florida or have to go through a quarantine when I got back. I couldn't really risk exposing myself and having to shut down due to having it in my shop.

I tried calling, but she was so out of it by then that she couldn't really talk, she probably didn't even know I was on the phone. My father held the phone up to her, I told her that I loved her, and then listened to her ragged breath for a bit before my dad came back on the line.

My sister tells me one of the last things she said was something about me and a white hat, and that it was one of the few laughs that she made while on her deathbed. My sister had no idea what it meant, but I did. She was talking about the summer I stayed up there with them, and we went fishing on Lake Erie. After my grandfather died, and my grandmother was clearing out the house she had lived in with him for over 60 years, she gave me a photo from that day. I don't know that I felt nearly as much significance about that day as she did, but now I know that it was one of her most treasured memories. I had dealt with her decline and passing with a great deal of emotional detachment, but when my sister told me this, that actually caused me to break down. (and while writing this paragraph, someone nearby has apparently started cutting some onions, excuse me a second while I clear my eyes.)

Better now... So, where was I? Oh yeah, funeral day.

Viewing is at 12:30, and the last time I made the drive it took a bit over two and a half hours. So my plan is to come in, open the store, brief my employees, leave about 9:30, and cross my fingers that the shop isn't a pile of smoking rubble by the time I get back.

Plans, why even bother? When I woke up and looked outside, I saw that my koi pond was in severe disarray. It had actually gone to complete hell from years of neglect, but over my covidcation, I mucked it all out, got a new pump, and got it looking pretty good. I still need to get some fish in there, but trying to get to a fish store that was open was not easy. Anyway, the pump that I had gotten did not fit perfectly with the plumbing that I had already installed, and so it was a bit improvised, and had chosen the previous night as the perfect time to work its way off and start pumping water all over the place, dropping the pond to a critically low level.

So, rather than putting together a quick breakfast for myself, I spend my time fixing this problem by hooking up an old pump and turning the hose on to refill the pond. I then go in and take a shower with no water pressure as it's all going out back.

Gather up my dogs and head in to work. (Did remember to turn off the hose filling the pond) Great thing about owning a grooming salon, I get to bring my dogs with me. I am going to have to leave them there while I am out, but they have plenty of friends to play with. This is the longest I will have been away from them in years, and for my youngest, for his whole life.

Things were more or less straightforward at work. I talked to my employees, told them to give me a call if they needed anything, and then headed out.

It's an easy drive. Just go north, then turn left, then turn right, and you are there. Just add in a couple few miles in between those turns.

One thing I had not counted on was covid traffic, or rather, the lack thereof. Usually, going through Dayton adds half hour or 45 minutes to estimated times, but between them finally finishing the construction since the last time I went through, and the much lower volume of traffic, I just zipped right on through. I chuckled at Needmore Rd as I passed it, remembering all the times I had laughed at it as a child on our way up to see our grandparents. I nodded at the road that shares my father's name, remembering too, the jokes that my much younger self would make as we passed that sign.

North of Dayton, it's flat, super flat. I'd forgotten how flat it gets. One of my car “hobbies” as a child on this trip was to watch for power lines, and as we would pass them, look down the line that stretched off to infinity. Out of nostalgia, and that this would likely be the last time I would be coming up here, I played my childhood game, though with a bit less intensity as I was driving this time.

It certainly is a different perspective. At my home, you can't see more than a couple hundred feet most of the time. Usually even less than that. Horizon? What's a horizon? The sun doesn't' go down over the horizon, it goes down behind those houses over there. Just looking out and seeing miles and miles stretched out around me, with the road ahead and behind running off to the vanishing point, was a different experience than I was used to. Rather than houses and hills, I am looking out on a landscape of silos and fields.

The radio stations are a bit different too. Lots of Christian radio. The ads are mostly about seeds, fertilizer, and crop insurance. One ad promoting “early bird” season tickets for the fall to the local hockey team played 3 times while I was within range of that station, pretty optimistic, if you ask me.

With me leaving myself a bit of extra time, and not getting hung up in Dayton, I get to the funeral home at about 11:30. No one else is there, and I have to urinate something fierce. Funeral home says specifically on its website that due to Covid, they will be opening for viewings exactly at the posted time, and that people may not show up early. I don't really want to drive around to find a bathroom, as I don't know the area really well, and don't want to get lost.

I got out, stretchered my legs, and then decided to use hand sanitizer and tissues to detail clean my car. I had nothing else to do until someone showed up.

12:15, and my sister comes pulling into the lot, with her husband in the car behind her. 5 kids, plus my other niece. (Okay, “kids”... 3 of them are young adults, two are teens, and the youngest one is 10, anyone under 30 is a kid to me.)
We chat for a bit, and then my parents roll up. My parents are pretty conservative, and my father is a Trump supporter. He does not want me wearing a mask, and he would also like me to hug him. I tell him, “I am exposed to the public everyday. Not saying that I am infected, but there is too high of a chance, and I'm not going to get you sick.” He's 73. He seems to take some offense to that, but lets it go. Of course, he also invalidates my position by hugging all of his grand kids.

During the viewing, I kept a social distance. When my Aunt and cousins showed up, we had more than the 10 that were allowed, so some of us filtered out to let them in.

I had not talked to my Aunt since her husband died 2 years ago. I did not realize it, but she was very resentful that I did not come to his funeral, as were her kids(all adults in their 40's). I had thought that we'd catch up a bit, share some old stories of our Christmas and Thanksgiving visits with grams and gramps, but instead, I got a cold shoulder from that side of the family.

I spent most of the time talking to my brother-in-law. I've known him longer than my sister has, and when he wanted to start dating my sister, he actually asked my permission first. He's a good guy, and we talked about work and Covid and other current and family issues while we waited outside.

For the funeral procession, two of my nieces decided to ride with my parents. Normally, I'd not think anything about that, but once again, my parents are in their 70's, they don't need to be exposed like that. I rode by myself.

It was the first time that I had driven in a funeral procession. I'd been in them before, but usually being driven by someone else. It was actually bit emotional for me, seeing everyone stop what they are doing to let us go by. Some guy even stopped on his ride-on lawn mower as we went by his house. The cars going the other direction stopped too, which almost caused an accident as someone tried to go around one of the stopped cars. I saw one of our police escorts stop by that car to chat for a moment as we went by.

My grandmother was well known in the community, and even having been absent from it for most of a decade, she still had friends. At the graveside service, close family were gathered nearby, but there were groups of people dotted all around, there to say their farewells.

I got to be a pall-bearer, that was a new first for me. Not all that much, we didn't have a procession throughout the graveyard or anything. The hearse was parked right next to the grave, and so it was just a matter of pulling her out and sliding her onto the vault. Coffins are heavier than you think, and one of the people on my side was my 13 year old nephew. Little concerned for a moment, no problems though, she ended up where she was supposed to go.

The minister was terrible. He had never met my grandparents. My grandfather's funeral was administered by the same guy who baptized my father and married my parents (He was pretty old at the time, so it's likely that he was unavailable). This was just some “kid” (under 30). He seemed to have a mad-libs script that was just filled in with some details of the deceased. “She loved ...golf... and fishing...” “She would know the love of the lord the when she would do her favorite activities, like … golf... and fishing.” He had some side tangent about panty-hose that I still haven't worked out, something about “being a lady”.

Anyway, with the service over, my Aunt and her clan skedaddled. They had actually taken the rear of the procession so that as soon as it was over, they could reverse out of there.

My father wanted to have a repast, but that was not really all that practical. There was no one open for sitting, and we no longer had any family living in the area. We ended up eating some sandwiches out of the trunk under a shelter in a park near the cemetery. I didn't mind too much, that was the first thing I had eaten that day.

My parents are now ready to go, my sister is loading up, and my other niece states that she needs a ride home. She lives east of Columbus. Her mother had dropped her off at my sister's last week (I know, I know, great quarantine!), but my sister didn't have time to get her home, what with her kids and all. So, I offer to drive her. I suppose I didn't really think about where I was, as I was thinking it would add an hour or so to my drive home. Wrong. It was longer to get her home than it would have been to go home myself, then it was another nearly two hours after I dropped her off.

I was thinking I'd be getting back around 5-6, instead I got back into town closer to 9. My dogs went nuts, of course, seeing me again. I was happy to see them too.

Got some McDonald's on my way home from the shop. Disgusting as it is, I was pretty hungry by this time, having only eaten a turkey sandwich all day. I checked on the pond, still humming along with the old pump. I'll need to properly set up the adapter when I get a chance, but reduced flow on the old pump is better than no flow (or water) on the new one.

Sat down at my desk and pulled out my crappy laptop. I used to share it with my roommate, but he got a new computer, so now the 13 year old laptop is all mine, yay! I figured I needed a little distraction from the day. Started opening up threads that I was interested in into tabs. Huh, I see someone got into trouble and is trying to get out of it in ATMB, I'll check that drama out later. Ah, here's the thread I was most engaged in, talking about student loan debt.

As I was chewing on the rubbery substance McDonald's calls a cheeseburger, I started reading up from the bottom. I see that there is quite the pile on going on, but the wheels are starting to turn in my head as to how to respond to all of the interrogatives. Heh, I see a mod note coming up, someone crossed a line...


So, how was your day?
  #2  
Old 05-21-2020, 12:50 PM
VOW is offline
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I'm so so sorry, for the loss of your grandmother, for your inability to visit her towards the end, for your rude and inconsiderate relatives (I think having rude, inconsiderate relatives are a requirement in every family, though) and for annall-round shitty day.

I do hope you found a bathroom!

You were incredibly kind to your cousin. I hope you had some friendly conversation with her during the long drive.

Suggestion: buy a white hat. Wear it occasionally, and when you do, give it a tip and say, "This is for you, Grandma!"


~VOW
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  #3  
Old 05-21-2020, 12:59 PM
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I'm sorry for your loss, k9bfriender. That funeral procession thing always gets me too; the unnecessary kindness shown by strangers like that guy on the lawnmower makes me cry.
  #4  
Old 05-21-2020, 01:49 PM
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My condolences.
Quote:
Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
She stayed active her whole life, and even only a couple months before she died, was still out walking every morning. Fortunately, between her health and having her daughter and grand-kids nearby, she never had to enter assisted living, and so my family was able to spend time with her towards the end.
Same with my dad. Mom as well, except for the active part.

Both were in their forties when I came along so it wasn't uncommon for them to be mistaken for my grandparents. I never got to know my actual grandparents, most having died before I was born.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 05-21-2020 at 01:51 PM.
  #5  
Old 05-21-2020, 02:41 PM
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k9bfriender* So sorry for your loss. What an almost sucky day. ()

Here's to better days ahead. ()



(* spelled it right, I think)
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Last edited by Beckdawrek; 05-21-2020 at 02:42 PM.
  #6  
Old 05-21-2020, 04:11 PM
nelliebly is offline
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That's a truly difficult and awful day, redeemed only by the kindness of a couple of relatives and many strangers. That minister sounds less than inspirational, but your post here makes up for that. I love VOW's suggestion of getting a white hat. Maybe you could wear it on her birthday or the approximate anniversary of the fishing day she so treasured.
  #7  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:07 PM
k9bfriender is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VOW View Post
I'm so so sorry, for the loss of your grandmother, for your inability to visit her towards the end, for your rude and inconsiderate relatives (I think having rude, inconsiderate relatives are a requirement in every family, though) and for annall-round shitty day.

I do hope you found a bathroom!
Yeah, when they opened up the funeral home, they had one bathroom. I allowed my mother, sister, and her kids to go ahead of me.
Quote:
You were incredibly kind to your cousin. I hope you had some friendly conversation with her during the long drive.
Niece, but yeah, I literally went out of my way for her.

She spent most of the ride staring at her phone.

(I'm actually jealous of that, I can't read in cars, not without getting violently ill.)
Quote:
Suggestion: buy a white hat. Wear it occasionally, and when you do, give it a tip and say, "This is for you, Grandma!"

~VOW
I like that. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dung Beetle View Post
I'm sorry for your loss, k9bfriender. That funeral procession thing always gets me too; the unnecessary kindness shown by strangers like that guy on the lawnmower makes me cry.
Yeah, it's an odd thing. Probably the most enjoyable thing that I'd rather never do again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
My condolences. Same with my dad. Mom as well, except for the active part.

Both were in their forties when I came along so it wasn't uncommon for them to be mistaken for my grandparents. I never got to know my actual grandparents, most having died before I was born.
When I would stay with them in the summer, we got up at 7 and walked to his "office". He was retired, but was still known by everyone. (I thought it was worthwhile as they had bagels and Peppermint Patties.) Then we'd walk to a rotary club meeting, or a church group, or something with the school.

Lotta walking. Pretty much only took the car if we were leaving town or if the weather was very adverse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
k9bfriender* So sorry for your loss. What an almost sucky day. ()

Here's to better days ahead. ()

(* spelled it right, I think)
Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
That's a truly difficult and awful day, redeemed only by the kindness of a couple of relatives and many strangers. That minister sounds less than inspirational, but your post here makes up for that. I love VOW's suggestion of getting a white hat. Maybe you could wear it on her birthday or the approximate anniversary of the fishing day she so treasured.
I'd have to get some Eggos as well. We had eaten breakfast at the house before we left, which included some Eggo waffles.

I don't do all that well with motion sickness, and I did spend a decent amount of time hanging over the rail. After my first purge, I said, "I leggo my Eggo." I know that she laughed about that for years.
  #8  
Old 05-23-2020, 06:18 AM
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Sorry about your loss, k9bfriender. And the whole covid-19 traveling situation especially sucks at times like these. My wife's grandmother died two days ago down in Florida, and in addition to the normal emotions of dealing with the loss, there's the hurt of not having been able to be there when she went to hospice, and having to conclude that it was just too complicated and risky to fly to Florida for the funeral.

This line stayed with me:
Quote:
Out of nostalgia, and that this would likely be the last time I would be coming up here
My aunt died in 2018, and I flew out to Kansas for the funeral. I got an email from my cousin recently saying they'd sold the ranch where she and my uncle had lived. It really hit home that this place that had been a major part of my childhood, that I had memories of going back to 1958, that I'd never have reason to go there again, given that my cousins and their grown kids have all moved elsewhere.

There ought to be a word for that feeling of when you lose your last connection to a place that's played a major role in your life.
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