The Dead Parent Club

We stared blankly at the catalog looking at each other incredulously knowing there wasn’t an answer there. “Which one do we pick?” “Maybe the gold one? She did like gold.”

It will feel surreal, sad, right and wrong all at the same time.

My family sat around the table picking out an urn for my dead mother. Mom had prepared most of the details for her funeral, but had forgotten this detail. That is one benefit to succumbing to a prolonged illness. We overlooked this detail in our funeral-planning checklist.

I can hear her rational voice saying — If you put thought into your decisions, it will be what I want.

Symbols and objects like an urn start to take on human characteristics.

She was practical, but not necessarily cheap with her money so let’s pick one in the middle of the price range.
There are urns that are as expensive as caskets?!? She would die if we bought that. Oh, wait.
Her favorite color was purple. Do they even make a purple urn? Would she think that is tacky? Is there one with a purple accent?

Meanwhile the funeral director listens with admirable patience. I feel mentally congested and emotionally embattled at fulfilling what I believe are her wishes.

Funerals and all associated elements are really for the living. The rituals exist to bring closure for those of us left. In my mind, I can hear her rational voice saying — If you put thought into your decisions, they will be what I want.

I am a new member of the dead parent club.

At some point, we will be involved in planning a funeral whether it’s for a parent, spouse, sibling, friend or a child. You will push aside your grief in duty. It will feel surreal, sad, right and wrong all at the same time.

I am a new member of the dead parent club. After my mom died from breast cancer, a new understanding existed with friends who had also lost a parent. We talked about if it was better to die suddenly or to be able to say good-bye. Conversations shifted to surviving parents and their well-being. Moments of emotional breakdowns without warning are sympathized with in ways that a non-member doesn’t feel. We laugh about the shitty things well-intentioned people unknowingly say when they don’t know what to say.

And when someone else’s parent dies, you welcome them to the club.

As for the urn, we settled on a gold urn. She loved gold.

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