Transportation / Secrets

Today we went to the east side of the state and got Z’s car.  Then we stopped by the sheriff’s office to collect her mobile phone.

They wouldn’t release any of her clothes or other inconsequential items because they have moved to “evidence”.  Those things will spend the rest of my life in a bag, in a box, on a shelf, in a basement.  They will be forgotten by everyone.  Even me, eventually.  They will collect dust and one day – many years from now – they will be unceremoniously destroyed.  Her case will have been long closed.  Whomever takes them to the incinerator will never know the part of the universe that belonged to her.  And the exquisite pain left in the wake of her death.

I followed her car home.  S.O. and I went together, he drove it home.  It’s parked in our driveway now.

For the past couple of years I loved seeing her car in a driveway.  I knew it meant she was home or I was up visiting her.  I would get a half-hearted hug and a quick hello before she was off to do something more fun than hang out with me.  Teenagers are like that.  No time for mom.  I knew that.  It’s part of growing up.  Eventually you circle back around to your mom starting in your mid-twenties.  I was looking forward to that. I wanted that future.

Now her car is in my driveway.  I’m not coming home to see her.  I’m coming home to the nothing where she should be.

Everyday when I leave for work (and when I get home from work) her car will be in the driveway.   She will not be on the couch.  She will not be making a mess.  She will not leave her dirty dishes all over the side tables and her backpack on the floor with important items spilling out.  She will not whine when I ask her to pick up her mess.

I emptied her belongings from her car into her room.  I went through the things I knew would need to be repatriated to a bathroom.  I gave her cosmetics and lotions to her sister.  I pulled out her colored pencils and coloring books.  I’ve never been one to color but I might give it a try.  I might take them up north… maybe I’ll take them up north. I’ll probably take them up north.

Everyone spreads their wings and keeps their lives in compartments. Each part of your life is set aside for a particular audience.   As you start keeping things from your parents, your parent also has a right to not know things.  A parent looks at their young adult child and knows the benign things they do are fine in life, but doesn’t want to know some of the more racy things.  I don’t want to violate her privacy.

Eventually I will have the wherewithal to go through her items and distribute back into the world.  Her friends will want some of the things they shared.  I’ll give them their part.  Some of the things will be passed to my girlfriend’s children or saved for my nieces or donated.  I’ll put her formal dresses and graduation robe in a bag and tuck them into a closet. Her diploma will go into a box with other mementos and moments and monuments.

For now, her secrets are still tucked safely away in her bedroom.


Land Ownership

This weekend we went to the UP.   Home.

It’s not where I was raised, but it’s where I grew up.  It’s where my very (very) close family all lives side-by-side – 5 houses across.

Last weekend, we had a Viking funeral pyre for her there.  I took some of her funeral flowers up north and rearranged them into a spray.  My cousins and brother and S.O. built a log raft, we put it into the lake and set it on fire.  I re-read her eulogy and we watched everything burn.  We also kept a vigil campfire lit for 4 days.

So now I have to put my baby back to the earth.  This place is the place I’ll keep her forever.  It’s also the place I’ll put my late husband.

I was never emotionally ready to bury my husband.  I’ve kept him with me over the past 7 years.  About a year ago, I’d decided I was ready to let him go but I didn’t have a place.  Now,  I’ll put them together.  My husband, her step-father, will be next to her.

Maybe that’s why I kept so hard a hold of my husband, not letting his body go – because the universe knew that I’d need him to be with my daughter?  I don’t know. I do know. I don’t know.

Six of us went to pick a spot on Saturday afternoon.  We ended up purchasing 24 plots.  Room for 96 urns.  My entire family – Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Brothers, Sisters – we all made the decision to stay together.

My baby and my husband will be the first two in what is now the family section of the tiny cemetery in the UP.  But that won’t be until next summer. The 4th of July.   In the UP, that week is called homecoming week.  That will also be the 8th anniversary of my husband’s passing.

So, here I am, the new owner of several plots.  Stupid plots.  Amazing plots on a hill  surrounded by maple trees.  Room for everyone I love.

Picking out a burial site for your child and your husband when you’re 40 years old is a shitty matter.  0 stars.  Would not recommend.





Death as business.

Death, obviously, is a literal business.

I remember seeing a billboard in my town a couple of weeks ago advertising cremations for just under $1,000.00.  I remember thinking that was a good deal – having more or less remembered the cost for my late husband’s cremation.

When I went back to the same funeral home to make arrangements for my daughter, their cremation price was still $1,500.00.  I knew that I was over-paying.  Or, rather, my parents were over-paying since they would pay for my daughter’s funeral expenses as they had for my husband (a shitty, amazing, important gift. O stars. Would not recommend).  Also, as a professional purchasing agent, I cringe at not shopping around for best prices.  But in that place, at that time, I had no other options.  I’m not up for shopping around. I don’t have it in me to call multiple funeral homes to look for the best price.  I pay a $500 convenience fee.

Today at lunch I had to call Wayne State to formally disenroll her and try to get her refund on the housing and educational deposits.

The housing form had two generic questions – clearly not aimed at any particurlar situation.  Question #1 – Why do you need to leave student housing?  Question #2 – What has changed?


That was my response to the second question.

Everything has changed.

I haven’t gone to her bank yet.  She had a second  bank account attached to mine so that I could easily pass her money for prescriptions and gas and various whatnots.  Two days before she died, I’d put $35 into her account to pay for her synthroid.  I moved that money back to my account.

Also on my list of to-do’s at lunch today was mail the donation checks to the Jack and Jill foundation for late stage cancer.  More business.

This weekend I have the business of thank-you notes for everyone that helped out.

Amazon got more business from me today – I took another shot at a book for parents that have lost a child.  It will arrive next week.

I have the business of returning the items she’d purchased for school.  Textbooks that already arrived. A new mattress pad and kettle that need to be returned.  Towels and laundry baskets and hampers and extra shelves that all need to go back to their place of origin.

This is a stupid business.