About Me

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Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

To Urn or Return?

When my kids were toddlers, I'd deposit them in the play room at the indoor tennis courts and we young mothers would exchange recipes or discuss what the kids wouldn't eat or where our husbands were on business.

When my kids were in school, we'd discuss our work, our kids' schedules, their report cards, and family trips.  We wouldn't stick around for a drink afterward because we had to run the carpool route or get the kids home to finish homework before hockey practice or organize our own material for a meeting.

When my kids were in college, we could sit afterward and mostly talked about vacations we were planning or work.  Or the cost of college educations and what kind of jobs the kids might find later (yes, there were plenty of choices then).

In retirement, an after-tennis discussion recently revolved around whether we were planning to be cremated with a memorial service or have an open or closed coffin with wake and full funeral or just a service. And whether we'd talked with the kids about it.

(The tennis was pretty good, really...no correlation to the topic!)

Which brought to mind something a friend recently printed for me - an old column by NY Times writer Joyce Wadler titled, "Queens of the Road" (March 3, 2013).  Joyce has become my new favorite humorist.  Her point in the column was to NEVER travel with your mother long-distance.  "Unless maybe you are disposing of her ashes. And then there's a very good chance you will hear her voice in your head:
     'You packed the box with my ashes without double-wrapping it in plastic and putting it in a baggie?
Look at this box:  It's cardboard, it's nothing.  What if I spill all over this suitcase?...By the way, how are you planning to do this?  If there's a wind, make sure it's not blowing at you, and when you open the box, make sure you don't pour it over your head.  Don't say, 'Everybody knows that,' because everybody does not know.  I hope you didn't invite your father's cousin Marvin.  I can't stand that man.'"

Back to the question posed at the tennis court.  To urn or return (in open or closed casket)?

I've been thinking about my parents a lot recently, doing book promotions for ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES.  They'd signed up with The Neptune Society to be cremated and prepaid for the service, which included scattering their ashes at sea.  Dad got seasick on any boat he stepped foot in and they most certainly did not want to be scattered at sea!  What they did want was to be co-mingled and divided in half for my sister and me to dispose of on each of our properties.

We had a lovely memorial service for my mother.  She sat in a cardboard box on a shelf of Dad's bedroom, waiting.  Not too long, as it turned out. When Dad passed almost exactly a year later, we had another lovely memorial service.  The ashes went back to The Neptune Society, which mingled them, provided the paperwork, and sealed the urns.  My sister and I transported them in our respective cars, she to Virginia and me to Massachusetts.

Maybe there's a bench at a tennis court somewhere where Charley and the kids could sit to reminisce about our lives together. As for the rest, I'll leave it up to them.  I doubt they'll hear my voice telling them which way the wind is blowing.