Today is the seventh anniversary of the death of my mother.
I flew to Denver when she died, to be with my sister and deal with the cremation. A local funeral parlor handled "the body."
My sister lives in a racially diverse neighborhood and chose a black owned business. We stood out like funeral lilies. And, frankly, we were treated like shit. As were the doves they had crammed into a cage and stored in almost total darkness. (The doves are used to "set free" at the request of some funeral customers to symbolize the freedom of the soul after death. Yeah. Crammed and caged and suffering in the dark?)
Anyway. My dead mother was in a yellow hospital johnny and laying on a stretcher when we got there. We were in a basement room with only very uncomfortable, metal folding chairs to sit on. We sat on them only after I wrestled them out of the tangle leaning against the wall and set them up for my sister and me.
We talked to our mother...told her of all the shitty things she did to us and told us about ourselves and how so much of it still hurts. We told her about the amazing, creative, funny, talented woman we could barely, but always, see behind the morass of depression and alcohol. We laughed. We cried. We patted her waxy, hard, yellow skin.
We said good bye. I said a prayer for the doves.
We next saw her at the crematorium. Well, not her, but the box she was in. She wanted no special service or consideration. We watched as the waxed cardboard box was slid into the furnace. We left.
I do not remember what my sister and I did next. Probably ate ice cream.