Got your headstone, assholes.

Going to buy a headstone today. Finally.

It's not an easy task, keeping my mom on track sometimes while keeping my temper. I have to keep my temper, or she tells everyone I'm having "mood swings". Hah, writing that actually made me chuckle.

I'd made an appointment about a month ago to do this but ended up canceling because I realized that we weren't in fact going to buy the headstone but instead I was just going to be chauffeuring my mom on a second shopping trip to a place she'd already been. Thankfully she'd said "oh, I'm not planning to buy anything today, I'm still looking around" to which I replied call me when you've decided on a place and we'll go. There was a bit of "oh, well, ohhh kaay, *sigh* I'll buy it there" but I'd said nuh uhh mom, not having you going around feeling like I bullied you into using this place. Do what you have to do and get back to me.

So, here we are, going to the same place to actually get 'er done.

I spent much of the day yesterday with my mom, first driving her long time girlfriend to the airport, then, back to my mom's to figure out this headstone business. I got her to dig up the paper confirming proof of purchase and location of the four plots my dad had bought at his home town cemetery for $25 dollars in 1982. I vaguely remember him buying said plots, and inquiring as to why there were only four plots when there was five people in our family. I think his reply was something to the effect of "oh, I'm sure at least one of you kids will get married and want to buried somewhere else".

Now, the shopping around for the best headstone price isn't wrong, or uncharacteristic of my mom. Both my parents were/are frugal so my dad would be happy to have not paid too much for his headstone, I know this. But I also know he'd be right pissed off if the plots he paid $25 for in 1982 went to waste and he sat (in the form of ashes) on the entertainment unit in their living room for eternity, even though he and my husband did assemble the unit together and both were quite proud of the achievement.

He'd be happy to know, and I think pleased with me, for using the following in my closing argument in presenting the case for this particular headstone store to ultimately convince my mom to commit. My closing argument was that they're actually getting a fantastic deal since the headstone will in fact be for three people, not just dad, as my brother will be included on the headstone as will my mom when her time comes. I mean just think about it, one headstone for three people. That may even be environmentally friendly too!

My mom has confided to me she's a little hesitant to let the ashes of my brother and my dad go. That it's kind of far away, my dad's home town. And, she doesn't like to drive out to the country herself anymore so it will be hard to visit the headstone. Anymore? Shaking my head I remind her she's never been one to drive herself out to the country and that although I understand, she really has no choice in the matter. These are my dad's wishes and they must be honoured.

It's important to my mom, and to me, that my brother's daughters are able to see a memorial to their dad somewhere on this planet. After drawing a headstone on a piece of a paper and playing around with a few words we've decided to include that my brother was "devoted father" to his daughter's names and something like "I'll love you forever and always" as if he is saying it to them. I like the idea, and I think if I were them it would be meaningful to see something like that.

For my dad, it's simple. It will say "this was the best life I ever had" as that was always what he said no matter if it was a vacation or a home cooked meal or sweet dessert (butter tarts). It was always the best he ever had.

If my brother and my dad could read this or know I blogged about their headstone, well, I think my dad would kind of smile, roll his eyes at my mom and all the hassle, and pat me on the shoulder. My brother, well, he'd just think it was funny as hell and laugh and tease me about it all.

To which I'd affectionately mutter, "assholes".


  1. Campbell,

    I get that totally! My husband was cremated. This is something we discussed over and over. He did not want to be buried and we never bought any plots. When my SIL's were in town, they were cool about cremation, just not the service for him - nonreligious and military. They wanted a big funeral that would have cost me 8 or 9 grand (which I don't have) and they were not going to help pay for it! Cripes, jerks. But it did not matter, I will pay for it, as always. And, because it is what my husband wanted I will be taking his ashes home and spreading them there. Nothing like the desert to make a person stop and see the truly beautiful. It will allow him to be part of the sunsets.

    Death, while final in this world, seems to be another journey - not the end.

    My husband, by the way, picked John Denver's "Calypso" for the funeral. Read the lyrics and remember that it is praise to the adventerous spirit of those that dare to learn more and grow, Jock Cousteau and his crew of the Calyspo - a ship that used to be quite famous in science and discovery. When someone asked me why, it took me a long time to understand and then all I could do was laugh. It was simple, in spite of all of his disabilities, my husband loved to learn, to see new things and to be free, it was his way of reminding me to live and to know that I was doing the right thing....

    He spent 27 years teaching me. Now, I have to live - LOL - and he made sure I would feel guilty if I didn't! Men - they are so simple and yet so complex.

  2. Phew Lori! Glad you "got me" today ; )

    My brother actually had two memorials, a very large one in the city where he lived and was intended to be a celebration of life, and one here in his home city that my mom had freeish rein on. When I spoke at this second memorial in a church I addressed the fact that although this style of funeral would not have been something my brother would have chosen for himself, I also know how much he loved our mom and he'd have wanted her to do whatever she needed to help her deal with him being gone, and I truly believe that. He'd have laughed though...

    Cousteau I know, and you're right about the men. I'm glad yours was the kind who wanted you to live.

  3. You speak of your father and brother with such affection, they must have been very special!

  4. Campbell, I am glad he was that kind too - because I would have given up and let myself die if he hadn't been. Love is funny, it hurts and yet without it, we are lost. Sigh....tears as always....I have become such a baby.

  5. Kris, they were, and the "asshole" thing is so us, for sure my dad and I do it. Did it, whatever, I still do it.

    It's a term of affection in our family :D

  6. Lori, maybe if he'd not been as awesome, you'd not miss him near as much, it'd not be near as difficult.

    I talked to you before about the price we pay for being fortunate enough to have or have had awesome people and relationships in our lives.

    Your tears are so new that they don't know how to stay in yet, and that's ok Lori. The only thing that's newborn or baby about you is the you without him.

    Give yourself time to get used to it.


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