Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Making Arrangements

Lily Pads

"When I die I want my head to be surrounded by beautiful flowers in my casket."
Josefina Hernandez

The last few days I have spent busily shuttling back and forth between the nursing home attending to my Mom and comforting my Dad.  Mom has lucid moments but because of her surgery they have been few and far between.  Sometimes she doesn't recognize me and seems confused.  It's truly hard on Dad but the outpouring of love continues.

Today Mom greeted us with outstretched arms and was elated to see us.  She cried out loud, "I though you were lost."  She embraced my Dad and me.  We sat and watched her do her physical therapy.  She hasn't given up yet and we haven't given up on her either, but we do know that she might not  be with us as long as we like.  She is frail and her body may be in need of eternal rest.  In the mean time, Dad refuses to give up or let go of his queen.  He lives to serve her and makes her last remaining days as comfortable as possible.  He refuses to let her down and demands that others do the same.

It's been my job to fill in the gaps that my sisters can't fill.  We all have different roles to play of comfort, prayer, and care.  Today, the funeral arrangements fell on my shoulders.  Dad and I did it together.  He made me ok with the whole death process.  He showed me Mom and his new home, a mausoleum with a view of the morning sun.  I touched his shoulder and assured him as nice as it was, it wasn't ready for him yet.

This past year, I have frequently talked about some of my very real fears.  I have talked about facing them and letting the universe lead, guide, and pull me through this journey through space and time.  I feel calm and I now recognize that death is part of living.  The real tragedy in life is not death, it is not living.  It's up to us to choose to live and enjoy each moment as if the sun was not going to rise tomorrow.

My parents will face the sunrise at some point eternally.  They are wise and I feel that in their death they will still teach me to live.  The fear that I had has been lifted.  My Dad taught me a valuable lesson today as we made mom's funeral arrangements.  It will be fine and we will celebrate her life with flowers around her head and food afterwards.  We bring our family together from all over the U.S. and Puerto Rico and we will celebrate her wonderful recipes.

Mom is not dead, but I think it's time for me to celebrate her contributions and her raw sense of humor.  As we tapped into her bank account today, both Dad and I feared Mom's retribution and rebuke.  We laughed and we smiled.  Dad and I agreed on the same casket and the final funeral arrangement and then we dickered and got a further discount.  We walked away proud of what we had done for the queen.  Hail the queen, your subjects love you.  Long live the queen.

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