October 27, 2006

Thoughts on Death- A Cheery Topic!

My Mom is really funny. She says things sometimes that completely crack me up. She has always been the straightman to her two kids (not me, I’m not the funny kid), but she has a wicked funny sense of humor.

We’ve been talking about death a lot more lately. Not sure why it keeps coming up, perhaps because she and Dad are aging, as the rest of us are, and the latest conversation was because one of their neighbor's just died. My Mom’s philosophy on life has become, “Death Happens.” And she shrugs.

And I think it’s funny.

She has a baked rigatoni recipe that I gave her that she now calls ‘Funeral Rigatoni’. It feeds the masses, fills them up, and tastes great reheated. She takes it to the family when someone dies. And she’s even made up this really funny song about her coming with the Funeral Rigatoni, ‘step aside, ‘cause someone’s died’ or something like that. It’s really really damn funny.

But I was telling her today, “Don’t you and Dad make any assumptions on whose going first… because I’m not.”

I guess the big hope for my parents, in my eyes, would be that they’ve lived great lives, fulfilled, and they’re both kind of tired of living, they’re in their own home, and they both fall asleep and wake up dead. Preferably at the age of 100. And they both have all their faculties and are in good health.

But nobody is ever ready to lose a parent, even at 100, and the thought really does sicken me.

My Mom and Dad are both in excellent health. She had a physical a year or so ago and her doctor said to her very solemnly, “Do you know what your biggest health risk is?”

And my Mom, suddenly very alert and waiting to hear the big news said, “What?”

And he deadpaned, “9 mile road.” (My Pensacola readers will so get that. For those who have never been there, it’s become this crazy ass 4 lane road where I think everyone drives with a death wish. My parent’s neighborhood sits off of it.)

What always surprises me, however, is how at a certain point, some couples just ‘assume’ one is going to die first.

Case in point.

My mother in law and father in law planned their entire futures around his dying first. All their retirement planning was based upon this assumption. She was a retired school teacher that had a good pension coming in, so their planning was based on what SHE would have when he died.


Sounds perfect.

Except suddenly it was the day of the Epiphany, she’s on the altar leading the parishioners in the Rosary, when Boom, she drops dead.

Kind of put a whole kink in the ol’ retirement plan.

Not to mention the family dynamics… something that still hasn’t quelled after nearly 7 years.

Then you have her sister, who married for the first time at 65, to a man who also had never been married and was also 65. Both of them were probably the quirkiest people I had EVER met in my ENTIRE life, and their marriage to me, has proved my theory that ‘Every Pot has a Lid’. They were great together and we were so happy that these two extraordinarily odd but well meaning people found each other… and so late in life.

She got cancer, esophageal, which has a very low cure rate, and so we all knew, that but seven years into their marriage, a marriage truly made in heaven, that she would die… leaving him a mourning widower and we were certain that he would be unable to go on without her.

But then one day, one cold snowy day in October, in Northern New Jersey where they lived, he went to the Post Office and slipped and fell, hitting his head on the icy frozen steps… and died.

Just like that.

Her cancer had not completely ravaged her body yet, she had been fighting the good fight, more than likely for him, but upon his death… she died two weeks later. The cancer may be the cause on her death certificate, but I think it was a broken heart.

So assumptions cannot be made. Nobody knows what the fickle finger of fate has in store for any of us. There are no crystal balls.

Assumptions really can’t be made.

And I’m not sure where I’m going with this except it’s a long stream of consciousness spurred by a very funny conversation about death with my Mom.

And my Mom? She wants written on her tombstone, “Already?”


Posted by Boudicca at October 27, 2006 07:48 PM | TrackBack

I'm in your Mother's camp. When your time is up, it's up. I hope my kids remember me as the one who loved them best and that I left this world wringing the last drop out of life that I could.

Posted by: Lemon Stand at October 27, 2006 08:22 PM

I will be attending a funeral this weekend for my uncle. He has been in poor health for over 10 years. His widow has been in poor health recently too, but was slightly better than him. They both just attended my Mom's 90th birthday party. My dad turns 89 in a few weeks and is still driving a tractor. So you just can't predict what will happen.

Love the phrase "every pot has a lid". I'm stealing that.

Posted by: Jerry at October 27, 2006 11:53 PM

I'm with your mom. Though the only reason I see getting a gravestone is for genealogy... otherwise, just burn me up and bury me without a casket. GRIN... goodness what will grow after that.

Posted by: vw bug at October 28, 2006 07:45 AM

*grins big* I just LOVE your Mom and Pop!

"Already?" LMBO!

Posted by: imp at October 28, 2006 08:37 AM

Funeral Rigatoni (sung to the tune of Johnny Cash's 16 tons)

If you see me come'n better step aside.
Funeral Rigatoni means: someone died.
St. Peter needn't call'm
They've already gone...
To the mighty big house
In the great beyond

Posted by: mom at October 28, 2006 09:49 AM

I'm so LMAO! I was hoping you'd put it in the comments! heh heh heh. That cracks me up.

Posted by: Bou at October 28, 2006 09:52 AM

We'll have...
Funeral Rigatoni in the morning,
Funeral Rigatoni in the eve.
Funeral Rigatoni when the body gets cold,
Funeral Rigatoni while I keep on getting old.

There'll be...
Funeral Rigatoni for your funeral,
One day, there'll be some at my house.
You ask, "Why?", but it ain't no wonder,
Already? Yeah, that's right, I'm finally six feet under.

And it's...

Funeral Rigatoooniiii.

Posted by: Toluca Nole at October 28, 2006 04:59 PM

That is TOO funny! This will have to go on my list of favorite posts....

Posted by: Lemon Stand at October 28, 2006 05:05 PM

Heheheh... I'm loving the "Funeral Rigamorti... er, Rigatoni."

Posted by: That 1 Guy at October 28, 2006 05:13 PM

but I don't want to die.

Posted by: rsm at October 30, 2006 10:37 AM