Just How Many Headstones Do You Need, Ma'am?
"Do you want it to stand up, slant or life flat?" the voice on the other end of the phone asked.
"Lie flat," I said.
"Color?" she asked.
"The bluest of the grey granite you have," I answered.
It was a lot of questions about a small headstone that would mark my mother's passing. She actually died a year ago but no one in my family has taken care of the details like say, getting her ashes to New York. So I am working them out now. She didn't leave many directives, which has left details for the debate. I've done the best I can with them.
She wanted her ashes buried in the Meehan plot in a small cemetery in upstate New York. She was clear that she didn't want a funeral. She wanted to go quietly and elegantly. And that certainly is my plan.
While I know she loved daisies, all that I viewed for etching onto her stone looked, well, cartoonish. So I've opted for one elegant rose. It will be simple which is exactly what she would have liked.
And I think it's important that my twin sister is there. After all, my twin sister lived with my parents for many years. After an accident in which she suffered brain damage when were were 23, they took care of her. An din the last ten years of their lives, she was there just in case anything happened to them. So, about a month ago as I started the planning for this venture, I made sure she was a part of it all.
About two weeks ago I realized that the ashes of one of my brothers who died of a drug overdose in 2006, needed to be buried as well. So I called my friend Roberta back, in upstate New York.
"It's Erin in Reno, again," I said. "We are going to need a second matching headstone for my brother Dick." And I gave her the specifics for the stones to match.
And then this past weekend my sister-in-law called to tell me she'd decided I should bury just a bit of the ashes of her husband (my oldest brother) in the Meehan plot as well.
"Hey, Roberta," I said last Monday morning. "It's Erin in Reno again and it looks like we are going to need a third stone in August," I said as I gave her the specifics for a third flat stone.
"I don't mean to laugh about death and all," Roberta said back. "But do you think this is it, or do you think we should set aside a couple more for you?"
"I know this all sounds odd," I said. "But things come up. I really think this should do it. See you in a few weeks."
"Anything wrong?" my daughter asked as I hung up the phone.
"Nothing other than the fact that I think the folks in upstate New York think I may be a serial killer," I said.