The day after I returned from my August Tiny House Adventure, my mother died. She had dementia and forgot to keep breathing. So I find myself reflecting upon her life, and comparing it to mine.
Mom and Dad retired early to live on the road in an RV. They brought his mother along for the ride. When Grammy Gun(hild) died in Florida, her body was transported by train to PA for burial. She was 92.
Living on the road came to a halt when Dad also died in Florida. His cremains were strapped under the sink of the motor home – because, Mom explained, the oven was just too morbid. In a comedy of errors that could have only been orchestrated by him, it was discovered that he had been buried in a neighbor’s plot only after the burial marker was installed several months later. It happens. Up he came.
Twenty years passed. Mom spent most of that time back in Lowell on Death Row, a street with an inordinate number of funeral “pahhluhs” near the church where she had received all of her sacraments. She worked next door at the Merrimack River Valley House until becomimg a resident there. As her mental faculties faded, a series of moves ended at the facility where she died this week.
And here comes the complicated part. Her ashes are in Massachusetts. The plot is in Pennsylvania. She resided in both states as well as others; not one right after the other, but concurrently. That doubles the luncheons, the black suits, the priests, the services, and of course the death notices. It doubles the hotel expense and the gas and the meals and the tension. The one thing I know about living on the road is that the people you meet are almost entirely wonderful committed people who hold new relationships dear. In the campgrounds and state parks and rest areas, the lakes, the gas stations and the Walmart parking lots, a huge expansive community exists from sea to sea.
And that’s about how big her heart was.