Mom died a week ago today. This afternoon, I made the trip to pick up her ashes.
If any of you is considering cremation as the final disposition of your earthly remains, might I suggest looking into whether your state has a chapter of the Cremation Society? At Ellie’s suggestion, I signed Mom up for membership in our state’s chapter, and the whole experience has been entirely agreeable. The membership process was quick and easy and took me all of five minutes online. Lifetime membership in our state’s chapter costs $30. When the death occurs, one need only phone the Society; they arrange for transport of the body, they take care of all the paperwork associated with filing the death certificate (including, saints be praised, informing Social Security!), they cremate the remains in accordance with local ordinances, then they call you when the ashes are ready for pick-up. While they have packages that include viewings and services, the option of a simple cremation without ceremony or fanfare is also available.
That’s the route we chose. For around a thousand dollars, Mom’s body was retrieved from the nursing home, her paperwork was verified and filed, and her body was cremated. Her remains were released to me this afternoon in a simple cardboard box that we’ll substitute for the urn that Sphyrnatude made for her out of wood he found in her art studio. In a couple of weeks, her closest family will gather at the cemetery and we’ll bury her next to her first husband, MeadMaker’s father. While it’s technically not what she wanted – she gave me explicit instructions that she was not to have a funeral – I know that several of those she left behind would be comforted by some sort of formal closure. I don’t think Mom would begrudge them that.
Bobbie and I decided this afternoon that it would be fitting for us all to go out for Chinese food afterward; no one’s sure why, but during the last month of her life, she talked a lot about Chinese restaurants. Bobbie and I think that a Scorpion Bowl would be a perfectly lovely way to celebrate and remember…