Today was a roller coaster day and I haven’t had one of those in almost a week. It started out great. Pierson was in a great mood right from the start, which is a blessing. During the week he acts like he’s the one going to work in the morning. His body literally sags. Any lower and his fingertips would drag on the ground. But not today. Today he walked right out of his bedroom with a smile on his face. I immediately relaxed into the day and it felt really nice. We made plans for our friend, John, to come by with his daughter, Lilly, to visit for awhile and let the kids play. It was going to be a great day.
I know you know where this is going. It could not last. And you’re right. I was in the kitchen fidgeting around feeling restless as per usual as the Saturday morning quickly turned into Saturday afternoon. My eye caught some paperwork on the counter that reminded me that I needed to go pick up Merrick’s death certificates from the funeral home. I also had been planning on taking my keepsake pendant in so they could fill it with some of Merrick’s ashes. I guess since it had been in the plans for over a week to get this chore done, I had allowed my perception to forget the power this one act would have over the rest of my day. I was so disillusioned that I nearly skipped up to the door when I arrived at Vermuelens. The moment I stepped over the threshold it hit me…HARD. I meagerly took a few steps into the foyer so the staff could see me from the office. A nice lady came out right away and asked how she could help me. I feebly mumbled out what I was there for and handed Merrick’s urn to the woman. I was then guided to a couch to wait while they finished my tasks. Once seated, I took a long, deep breath. It smelled of fresh coffee, aged couches and furniture polish and a sweet melody was drifting from somewhere up above. How could an experience so agonizing be so uplifting. I guess that’s their job, to take some of the burden from our shoulders.
These guys are pros, but that didn’t stop what was about to happen from happening. The nice lady came back out and sat down beside me carrying a large manila envelope and a small slip of paper. She opened the envelope and counted the number of death certificates she had made for us. One. Two. Three. Like steel spikes being hammered into my heart. My heart was slowly creeping into my throat. I signed the form and she told me it would just be a moment while they filled my necklace. I put my arms around the manila folder, gently, so as to not bend the contents. Tears welled up in my eyes and finally ran over, spilling down my face. More tears came so I snagged a Kleenex from the ever present box of tissue that’s always within arms reach, no matter where you are in the funeral home. I smiled and took another deep breath as I looked around the room at its sadly familiar objects. The fake fireplace burning behind the reception desk. The potted plants in the corner. And how many damn side tables does one building need! Sheesh! They need somewhere to put all the Kleenex I suppose. Ha! I tilted my head sideways and thought, “That’s a shit ton of furniture polish though. If the scent is this strong, am I in danger from inhaling this air?” I literally shook my head a tiny bit and smiled again, laughing at myself internally. Just silly.
The nice lady came back with my jewelry and Merrick’s urn. I went to take his urn like a new mother would pick up a brand new baby, with gentle caution. This was still my baby. I thanked her for their help and walked back to the Jeep. I set Merrick on the passenger seat beside me and surrounded him with items that would help to hold him in place during the ride home. My purse, the smashed Kleenex box that’s normally getting kicked around the passenger seat leg room and a half empty water bottle created a makeshift cradle. I opened the necklace box and took the chain and pendant out of their baggies. After threading the chain through the pendant I fastened it around my neck. I brought the pendant to my lips and kissed it. My left hand joined my right and I hugged the pendant tightly. Hot, salty tears gushed from my eyes and that first weak sob escaped my mouth. I let them come. The deep, heaving sobs with the clenched eyelids. I remained that way for a good five minutes before settling down enough to bother with tissue again. I looked around to see if I had any witnesses and there were none. Somewhat relieved, I let myself catch my breath for a bit while I processed what just happened. The scales had tipped and the excess had poured off. All was right with the world. Well, ha, as much as it could be in the current situation. I smiled again. And while it’s true that this chore completely changed the course of the day into a much more contemplative and morose day, I couldn’t help but still feel a sense of deep relief. Those sweet tears were like wet smooches from my angel baby.
The day was still great.