A Good Day not to Die

P1000920I love my Thursdays with my sister, Virginia, and my 93-year old mom. I rush to drive the 35 miles to be there by 8:15 am and always find them just rolling out of bed. We spend two hours over coffee and toast, then another half hour perusing our IPads together. At 11:00 am, I help Mom shower and get her hair washed and set, so she can be pretty for her Bible College class that night. Once her hair is set in pink curlers, it’s time for lunch.

The entire morning, Virginia, Mom and I chatter non-stop about everything—loved ones, church, world and local news, and even politics. Virginia’s husband stays just long enough to eat, then for some unknown reason, he disappears and leaves us to our day.

This past Thursday our conversation took a strange twist. Well, strange for anyone else, but not for us. It went like this:

Mom: I felt so good when I woke up this morning. Really good. Not one pain or ache. You know, I read somewhere that people feel really good three days before they die.

Me: Really? I never heard that. Let’s see. Today is Thursday; three days from now is Sunday. Don’t think that would be a good day, Mom. You wouldn’t want to disrupt church services.

Mom: Are you sure it’s Sunday? I thought it was Saturday. Hmm…

Virginia: Wait… (She gets up from the table and takes her calendar off the pantry door. You have to know my sister. If it’s not on the calendar, then it wasn’t planned in advance, and therefore a huge disruption to her schedule.)

Virginia: Mom, you know that Sunday is a very busy day around here with choir practice and the kids going to youth group. Not sure that’s going to work, Mom.

Me: And then there’s the memorial service to plan. If you die on Sunday, memorial would be Wednesday, and remember, Thursday is my day with you, not Wednesday.

Mom: Oh, I hadn’t thought that far in advance. But I don’t want any memorial where people gawk at me and say how good I look. I’ll be dead; how good can that be?

Me: No memorial? Memorials are for the living and you have so many friends here.

Mom: They are good friends, and they will understand.

Me: But you will need to be transported back to Pennsylvania for burial. Plane tickets are very expensive if you don’t schedule 2 weeks in advance. It would be difficult for Larry and me to pay full price.

Mom: Well, no one needs to make that trip. Just have the funeral home pick me up in Elmira; they will take me from there.

Virginia: We really want to go to Pennsylvania with you; you will just have to wait. Let’s see what July or August looks like. (She turns the pages of the calendar.)

Me: I don’t know, Mom. We are really tight this year. Now that I’m retired, we’re down to one income. I don’t think we can financially swing it at all this year. Next year might look better. You will just have to put off dying for a while.

Mom (with her usual sweet smile): Oh, okay.

End of subject.

Have you ever had a serious talk with a loved one that turned as silly as our talk did? Write it down. It will make great reading for your generations to come.

Categories Ethiopia, Legacy, Legacy Writing Prompts | Tags: | Posted on May 25, 2014

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  1. by Joan Reid

    On May 28, 2014

    Ok. That conversation takes the cake…if all my loved ones would just die conveniently, say, ahhh, a while after I do….that would be dandy.
    Joan Reid

  2. by Judy Watters

    On May 28, 2014

    That sounds even better, Joan.

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