Written on 4/3/15.
Mother had told me over the last several years she wanted to donate her body to science when she died. Then she would say something funny about things they could study and learn and might find. We’d both laugh at some of the craziness. That’s how we dealt with things – with seriousness and then we’d find the humor in the darkness. We had to laugh through the hard stuff or it got to heavy and we might not make it through.
She said she wanted to be able to do something good – something to help others. I understood.
So yesterday I spent some time making many phone calls to try and honor her wish. I was told over and over again that they couldn’t take her body because of an infectious disease.
Oh the irony – even in death she has had obstacles with doing the good she deeply desired.
One person told me the “Body Farm” might take the body. I was mortified by the name and immediately had this very dark imagine pop in my head. I googled. It was exactly as I’d thought. It was disturbing but interesting. I would still be donating her body to science like she wanted. I called them and asked a few questions. They said they could “possibly” take her depending on some things.
I wrestled with mother’s desire to help others but the only option being something I couldn’t live with. It was to heavy and dark. I saw a parallel with how she lived her life and the “Body Farm.” I could hear some of the things she would be saying about the “Body Farm.” Thinking of her humor lightened the load. Ultimately I decided the body farm wasn’t something I could get okay with – so she will be cremated which was also her wish.
So today we head to her dark little apartment (which should be condemned) to gather the very few personal items and papers she had left in this old world. We will go by the funeral home to finalize the cremation. We’ll argue with the funeral home about my need for closure and need to view the body. They’ll tell me once again they wouldn’t recommend it. All the while, I’ll be thinking – I’m sure there’s a lot of things about where I come from or where she came from – things I’ve seen, heard and lived through that you wouldn’t recommend.
The truth is mother did a lot of good. She just didn’t realize it. Most of it was inadvertent. She taught me the “whys” while others taught me the “hows” of most things. She taught me why I wanted to be the best mom and wife I could be; why I wanted to be there for my kids; why I wanted to work hard; why I needed to be strong; why I needed to avoid certain substances; why I needed to have a good sense of humor; why I needed to be resourceful; why I needed to be kind, loving, empathetic, truthful and respectful; why I needed to hide my crazy; why I always needed to look past the obvious; why I always needed to treat people the same regardless of where they come from or how much money they did or didn’t have; and why I always need to find the good in everything.
She taught me some of the most valuable life lessons and for that I am thankful.
Finding the sweet side of crazy.