Cafe Hitch-hike


Remembrances of birth and death

Arielle's obituary has been published. I saw it as I left work last night and I cried as I left the building and on my way to my car. It's yet another confirmation, along with the State of Florida death certificate that includes my name and relation to her because I was the informant.

Beads gave me a couple teaspoons of her daughter's pale, tan ashes. They now sit in the same box where I have Uncle Joe's. Their unfinished, brown wooden box has a carving of a willow tree on it. He was very fond of Arielle and thought it would be right (and we're quietly glad he didn't have to see this). When I closed the box and put it back on my shelf, I joked that if they made too much noise, I'll have to yell at them.

Joe's ashes had a gray cast and looked like gravel while Arielle's looked more like sand. We thought maybe it was the age difference, or maybe because Uncle was cremated with clothes on.

Her funeral is scheduled for this Saturday. She is going to have a service in the same place where my step-grandma and a great-aunt had theirs. My step-dad had his through the same family company, but in a different place, less than a mile away from where he grew up (and where we all lived for a couple of years). Funerals and related businesses rely heavily on word-of-mouth.

I visited the funeral home's site to get its address and phone number to send flowers. As I scrolled down their list of obituaries, I recognized some last names. Some were from those I recognized from church, school, and neighbors. I noticed a former classmate's father died, and so did my literature teacher from the local community college. Most of the photos were of the elderly or those at least 60 years of age.

Then I saw the picture with the broad smile, oval face, and naturally curly hair of my niece. Although her parents had similar features, she really didn't favor one over the other. She was the youngest in the list, and of course, that also hit me.

Damn, and I have a couple of pictures of me holding her in the winter of 2001, shortly after she was born. She reminded me of Beads when she was a baby in-- the winter of 1981 and when I was in second grade. I remember peering into Bead's crib the first day she came home from the hospital and when I came home from school. She had a shock of black hair when she was born (so did Arielle). She slept quietly between 2 windows in the second-floor bedroom, and I could see the snowy neighborhood in the gray day. I leaned into the crib, and I kissed her on her head. I remember thinking that she seemed so peaceful.

We set up a fundraising page for Beads because she wasn't able to work much these past few weeks, and we were able to raise enough to cover her rent, car payment, and some utilities. We raised just over half of what we hoped to get, and even that was immensely helpful.

I chatted briefly with Beads this morning about the fundraiser. I then tried to pass along some words about the funeral:

If I can lend you anything I know, from my brain, heart, and experience...

...this funeral will be a celebration of Arielle's life and also a send off.

It actually does a lot for her soul. It tells her, too, that things have changed and she is now in a different realm. It helps her make the change too.

The funeral is for you, the people who loved her, and for her.

It's where people can lend their support to you and have a chance to say goodbye at the same time. You might be surprised by what you see and in a good way, although it won't feel like it at the time.

I will not be attending. I reconsidered and was able to find a very cheap flight, but getting back would be the hard part. I also can't take much time off right now. In lieu of my appearance, I ordered flowers and signed the card, "From Your Family in Florida: (Me), Deebo, & Drew."

My mother arrived in the hometown on Wednesday night, and I saw a string of drunk-posts on social media last night. I tried to call her today, but no answer. She's probably sleeping off her hangover, and that is just as well. Part of the reason I chose not to go was because I didn't feel like putting in the time, expense, and effort to see a circus full of bad behavior.

My concentration has been shit, and my conversational abilities has slowed down a bit. I speak and get in touch, but not nearly as quickly. It's like my mind goes blank or the thoughts are slow, and I have to wait before I can catch the next work or thought. My motivation has been terrible; thank God work has been slow. I'm the equivalent of a kid getting stoned and playing Xbox, except at work. I look at my texts, instant messages, and everything else but work.

Anyhow, I do have some real work to finish before I leave for the weekend. Hah, so there's something to get me going.

downwind | upstream