As I immersed myself in revising my book yesterday, and actually changing an entire scene because I was nudged to, my phone rings. Caller ID reveals it is my mother and in a loving manner, I sigh and roll my eyes before answering. Once I put my eyeballs back in their original position, I greet her and she begins to tell me that she woke up dizzy. She implores me to come over as she needs assistance with her medication. Sigh. I tell my characters to take the afternoon off and, of course, they love that idea. Whatever.
Once I get to her house, I opt to be Florence Nightingale as I hustled around getting her medication, making her coffee and breakfast, along with simply chatting with her. The constant change of caregivers has caught up with her and that anxiety seems to manifest physically. Sweet. Baby. Jesus. Anyway, I got her settled and was getting ready to leave when she dropped a little gem in my lap.
“Before you go, can I talk to you about something?” This is a trap. When she starts out with this particular question, it is usually related to her death.
“Sure. What is it?” You know the moments when you ask a question, not really wanting the answer? That was me.
“Well, I don’t want to be embalmed.” Christ. On. A. Cracker. So very random and not what I was expecting.
“Okay. Why?” Again, asking a question that I am sure I don’t want the answer to, but curiosity has taken me hostage.
“Well, dead people look awful after they are embalmed and this way I would have to be buried within 24 hours. Your father looked so much better right after he died compared to what he looked like in the casket.” She seems rather informed on this particular subject and let’s be honest, dead people generally don’t look “good”. I am always baffled when people comment on the appearance of the deceased in the coffin. “Gosh, doesn’t Joe look great?” Well, not really, because he is dead.
“Your other daughter lives in another state, so that timeline is a little unrealistic.” Clearly, this isn’t a great plan.
“It will save you money and I just don’t like thinking about being embalmed.”
“You do understand you would be dead, so I am really confused as to why you are so invested. If we are saving money, let’s forgo the coffin and simply put you in a Hefty garbage bag.” I say this with a little sarcasm which I know surprises all of you.
“That’s fine as long as you put me with your father.” Okay, this conversation is getting bizarre, so I simply tell her that I will take her request under consideration which seemed to appease her.
In true transparency, I did look up the particulars and it is legal in the state of Kentucky to opt out of embalming. At this point, I am thinking someone needs to create a drive-thru funeral venue. You simply order at the window. “Yeah, I would like to order a number one super-sized minus the embalming.” Clearly, I am on to something.