Deadline is a funny word, isn’t it?
All I need is a deadline looming to spur me into action. I have one now, a final one, with no extensions, and lots left to do before it arrives. Boy have I been busy this week! It’s a good thing I got those two pints of red blood cells earlier this week.
Yesterday we met with the Reform rabbi whom I’m hoping will conduct my funeral even though I am not a member of his congregation. I’ve heard only good things about him from those who know him. He was as wonderful in person as he’d been described. I was surprised to learn that wanting to meet the person who will officiate one’s funeral is unusual. Wouldn’t you want to know the person who’d be sending you off? My goal was not to vet him but to know he’d be willing to take the job. He reassured me that he would.
I also wanted him to meet me. How many funerals have you been to where it was clear the officiant knew nothing about the person who’d died? I don’t want an impersonal ceremony. Sure, it was a hard meeting, and tears were shed, but moreso, J. and I were both deeply comforted.
Today we met with the lovely Jewish funeral director and visited the cemetery adjoining the funeral home, where I will ultimately be buried. I would like to choose my cemetery plot, although I’m hoping my spirit will reside elsewhere. Maybe you could all hold on to a bit of it after I’m gone? Just take the parts you like and leave the rest for the worms.
The director explained the process from death to burial, and made himself available for future questions. I was so relieved to hear about the openness of this organization to Jews at all levels observance. Like the rabbi, this fellow did not bat an eye at J.’s presence as my wife.
Finally, and less critically, I dropped by the optometrist’s office to return those contact lenses I’d recently purchased, figuring I likely wouldn’t need them. When I told the assistant I wanted a refund–I spared her an explanation of why–she seemed unusually miffed. She scurried into the back, returning a short time later with a colleague, who questioned my request. Why I was returning lenses that had worked so well for me for so long?
I was trying to spare the ladies my reality, but you know what happens when I’m pushed: I’m honest. So I told her, “I will not need them because I am dying. I won’t have sufficient time to use them.” She then cheerily refunded my money while her colleague looked on sheepishly. As I was leaving, Ms. Refunder said, “Hope to see you soon!” Did she mishear me? Her response was as insensitive as last week’s letter from the psychology college, I’d say.
Anger, anger, go away. You’re not helping matters. Better to focus on gratitude for these two lovely men who will guide us through this process of death and dying. Thanks to them, we both feel supported and comforted as we head into the final stretch. With so little control right now, we’re grateful to be able to make some, any decisions for ourselves.