Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Morbid Humor Spoiler Alert

Just saw the end? season finale of Weeds...and at the very end...when Nancy comes dashing out of the house (SPOILER ALERT!) and the cops (that she has just persuaded to let her past the barrier)) ask her where her husband's ashes are.
And she answers..."The ashes...oh...I forgot....umm....I forgot that we buried him!" and then cheerfully speeds off on her segway.
heh. heheheheh.

I am sick; because I laughed so hard it reminded me of a story that most of the internets wouldn't even find funny. But guess what? It's non-fiction, and it's (more of) my life, so if you think you won't like it, then go away now. Thank you and good-bye.

After Elijah died, we had to make a decision: burial or cremation?
Believe me, I hoped for another option, but alas! there were no other options.
Grim, eh?
That was pretty much it. We chose cremation.
(yes, it still hurts to say that. but no less than saying I have a grave to visit.)

But then there was the detail of...retrieving those ashes from the very generous funeral parlor who handled all the details. The director had been so very patient and kind with us, but after a few months, we began to get regular calls from the receptionist, who had an unfortunately grating New Jersey accent when she called us to remind us, once again (sigh), to "Puhlease come and retrieve yo-ah cremains."
Ohshit she called again, I would report to dh. And she wants me to retrieve things like a dog!
I'll deal with it, he would grumble back.
(date reminder: less than SIX months after death of child)

We would fuggettaboutit. For about three or four weeks. The she would call us again. Asking us to "Puhlease come and retrieve yo-ah cremains. Of one Elijah Brooklyn. Thankyou so much. BUH-BYE!"
Again, with the same messages. (read above; repeat a few times).

And then the messages got waaayyy more exasperated. Same words, but with attitude, and verrrry impatient.
"Ummmm....Hullos. Is this the parents of Elijah Brooklyn? Cause yous need ta come and pick up his umm...cremains...and yous really need to come and do that ASAP, ahright?? Thankz, and BUH-Bye!"

And we of course, being in a place where we felt completely competent ridiculing others but not so much 'retrieving our sons cremains', screamed in mock fear whenever their number showed up on the caller ID.
She called again. She meant business.
She said, "Hullo! I really need to hear from the parents of Elijah Brooklyn very soon, cuz they need to come and pick up they-ah cremains and they need to do it very very soon. BUH BYE!!"

My goodness, I guess our time had run out.
No more storage room at the funeral home for our son's approximately 11 ounces of ashes.
Whoops, on our part!! No,really! My bad!

I don't remember which one of us started it, but suddenly we were in the hot-tub acting out skits (a la SecondCity) in which one of us goes in to finally 'retrieve Elijah's ashes', and New Jersey Lady is there, and she is not happy! Not one bit!
So she says something like, "Oh, yo-ah finally heeyah to pick up the cremains? Oh that's nice fah you! Yah took so lowong comin in that we have yo-ah son's cremains stored right heeyah!"
And then she reaches down to her file drawer of her desk and opens it, revealing a drawer full of ashes. (err, cremains!) She says...about eleven ounces you think?...and then she grabs a flour scoop, a paper bag and a scale and goes to town.
You get what you came for.


Really? You didn't think that was funny?


Anonymous said...

I don't understand? In a drawer? A scoop. A scale. Or maybe I'm trying hard not to understand. Really? I find this really distressing. I'm distressed for you and for me. My son was cremated. I haven't yet scattered the ashes. K

Anonymous said...

I think that is brilliant. You probably needed a way to shift from the intense sorrow surrounding Elijah's death and if it was getting all New Jersey Soprano-esque then good for you. I am most impressed that you and your man can even find a way to laugh at all.

mamadaisy said...

yeah, it was funny. morbid, but funny. but i was warned! and i kept reading!

i always thought it was funny (odd, and maybe ha ha funny) to know that the ashes from the average adult human body fit perfectly inside a Quaker Oats canister.

nailgirl said...

Mourning anf laughing go hand in hand sometimes i think. Yes it was funny.

gwendomama said...

Anonymous #1;
Sorry if you are distressed.
How to turn morbidity into tolerable humor...that's my thing now.
you were warned.
i have not scattered his ashes yet either, I think I will post a picture of them before I do.

Blaize said...

When life gives you shit, you have to make a shit sandwich out of it. Or something. I thought it was funny; probably one of the only funny things that happened to you during that time, yes?

Tricia said...

I laughed and giggled, so, uh, yeah, I thought it was funny.

In fact, I just went back and read it again just to make sure I wasn't just being strange or sick or something. And then I laughed right out loud and said to the world at large- "Yeah, I do think it's funny, really funny..." still chuckling with the laptop bouncing on my belly...

Maybe I needed a laugh this morning.

capello said...

oh my god. i don't blaming for not wanting to go.

too damn difficult.

but, you didn't save us a file of her recording? really? you didn't. because that's depressing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1 here again. Nah don't be sorry. Exactly why I read here. Humour, death, love, tears, anger, laughter all mixed together. No friend or family member could/would be that brave. I love it.

How do you scatter a babies ashes? Scattering an adult's ashes seems different. Releasing that person. Free. But a baby? The idea of physically scattering his ashes away from me... Hmmm?

thank you gwendomama.

Anonymous said...

...also dumb confession here... I kinda skimmed/missed the "hot-tub acting out skits" bit. I thought this really happened to you! I was all distressed for you. Sorry about that, I'll reread before I shoot off a dumb comment. duh.

gwendomama said...

OHWOW! Am I glad you came back, anon1!
I felt a bit schmucky.
and no comments are dumb unless they're really mean! no wonder you were distressed, holyshit!

as strange as it is to type this, i am so glad that you thought it had really happened first time around! phew!
naw, it didn't happen. it was just our first joke.

as to what you do with the ashes...when if figure it out, i will let you know! i have not gotten there myself yet. will probably post about that as it happens too.
wow, so much to look forward to. as my header warns, in fact.

hang in there, mamanon. you will be okay.

chris said...

I think sometimes when you can't cry anymore you have to laugh. And joking about things that are completely not funny is just a way of dealing with that.

My sil died after a long illness and it was really horrible. At the funeral there were a few times when I could not help but make a joke or laugh. My husband's family was horrified.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how I ended up at your blog, but I laughed at your joke whilst what I hope was appreciating the sadness of the situation.

Anonymous#1: I wouldn't know what to do with the ashes either. Perhaps keep them in an urn, until the day when an appropriate scattering comes to mind? Or hold onto them and have them put with your own ashes/coffin.

We scattered my dad into the pond at the local town of the dead (technically a cemetery/whatever normal people call them, but it was that huge), half of the ashes sank and the other half floated.

In my mind, I imagine the ducks that were in that pond having a nibble. And smile, for some reason.