Homer: OK, Marge, I'll plan everything: we can have the reception at Moe's. Wait. Why not have the whole wedding there? We'll do it on a Monday morning. There'll be fewer drunks.
Marge: Homer, don't be offended, but I've obtained a court order to prevent you from planning this wedding.
Homer: [looks through the papers of the court order] Well, these seem to be in order. I'll be out back in the hammock.
—The Simpsons, “Lisa’s Wedding” (3/19/95)
My mom, she was a planner. She made plans for the organ donation, for her funeral, for her burial. And she did most of it when she was about the age that I am now.
She clearly didn’t plan to die this year. She had plans. And the more I talk to people, and the more stuff in the house that I look at, the more I see that she did not think she was anywhere close to being done with life.
She was contemplating buying a second house near me so she could visit more often.
She was looking forward to attending my annual Pig Roast in July.
She was working on a shopping list the night before everything went to hell.
And I guess that’s the funny thing about plans; they don’t always go the way you want them to. She planned out most of her funeral but she didn’t count on one of the funeral directors being rather insensitive with his constant interruptions when I was talking to him. She probably didn’t count on the communications snafu that almost caused us to miss our chance at a last goodbye, or the one that temporarily left her body in limbo between the hospital and the funeral home.
I’m told that one of the symptoms of grief-based depression is hostility. I’ve been told that on my best days I can be kind of acerbic; lately it’s not taking much for me to get downright snotty. Some people just assume that you know everything that’s going on; other people don’t really care whether you’re familiar with the procedures; still others are exposed to this sort of thing all the time and just plain forget the way it affects the people who receive the direct impact of these events. Sorry guys, but I haven’t lost many mothers before this one. I’m having a little trouble with the vocabulary and I’d appreciate a little guidance. I’m scared, is what I am, and I need to depend on strangers who are professionals in these areas to get me through some of this.
Mom put a lot of responsibility on me; she told me that she thought I was the one who could handle it; that I was the level-headed one. I told her that it’s a pretty dark day when I’m the voice of reason, but I understood where she was coming from. It’s not that she couldn’t trust my brothers to deal with these things; it’s that she knew that I was the one who would get it done first and fall apart later.
I’m sitting in a public park as I type this, because I just needed some time to be by myself and contemplate things. That’s it for now; I’m still processing. Thanks for following along.