The 100th Post

From January 23, 1997

Today we cremate my mom.  First, we go to Kaiser and check on the baby.  Things we are cremating with my mom: 2 roses, her last birthday card, a bad picture of her and I, the program from the Rose of Tralee Debutant Ball from last March.

11:35am.  The process has started.  We went to the crematorium at 10:30 after hearing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.  We drove to the back of the cemetary and went into the building.  There were three ovens and a box which contained my mom.  She was wrapped in a thick plastic whit bag with her face exposed.  The life was gone.  Her mouth was open slightly and I could tell that her corneas had been harvested.

I laid the two roses on top of her chest along with the cards and the program.  I wasn’t planning on putting my favorite black and grey flannel shirt on top of her because she was so cold. I pushed her over and then into the oven with the gentleman that worked there.

I looked at the panel and undertood how this thing worked.  I asked and the gentelman let me turn the oven on.  I closed the door and started the fire.  The temperature had to get up to 500F before I could turn on the afterburners.   It took forever.

I had to do every step myself.  She had done so much for me, that letting a stranger “take care of it” wouldn’t have felt right.  She wiped my butt when I was small. She blew my nose when I was bigger.  She shot me full of solumedrol  and penicillin as needed.   She left work to bring me lunch at times.  She did the very best she could with what she had.

We spent a long time together, just her and I .  Now back at the cemetrery, it is just her and I again.

The cremation is taking about 2 hours.  I want to be there when she is done.   I could tell she had been refrigerated.  Her skin was cold and clammy.  I heard Celtic music in my head during the start of the cremation.  I just realized that in 1976 my mom’s first car was a 1965 mustang.  In 1997, her last car was an ’82 mustang.  I guess that makes her a Ford Mustang woman through and through.

Well, the guy had just opened up the cremation room.  I am going to go in and clean up the ashes.  This is going to be hard.

The 100th Post

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