One Last Ride in a Golf Cart

17 Jan

Since Mom died six weeks ago, I have been like a kid trapped in the surf. Every time I think I can get back on my feet, another wave crashes in and takes my feet out from under me. Since mom’s death, several people at Ebenezer who mean the world to me have gone to join her in Heaven. Every time I catch my breath, it seems another takes place … So I am writing this from one of her favorite places: Garden City Beach. This weekend has been good for me to unplug and deal with some of the emotions I haven’t been able to process because of my obligations at Ebenezer.

I got a text last night from Stephanie McCabe (who just lost her father) and it reminded me of something I really got a kick out of as we dealt with some of the duties with the funeral home after mom’s funeral. It seems that in South Carolina, you cannot cremate a body until you have a death certificate. And the doctor at the hospice house where mom died is notorious for being slow with these. So, I will confess that we had the funeral with an empty urn (apparently that is not so unusual). Years ago, mom and dad picked out cemetery plots in the veteran’s memorial garden at the cemetery where she is now interred. However, a year or two ago, mom decided she would rather be cremated than embalmed and buried. SOOOO …. About a week after the funeral, Diana and I had to return to Easley to finish those arrangements.

It was a painless issue: We had to choose where her urn would be placed. We opted to trade the burial plots for a place at the mausoleum, a place where Dad’s wheelchair could easily roll up. We had to sign all kinds of paperwork (which is apparently standard with EVERYTHING when someone dies). After we were all done, the kind lady asked me “would you like to place your mom in her niche??”

“Ummm …. Yes?” I tentatively responded. “She is in there on the countertop!” the lady replied. It was all I could do not to bust out laughing … She was sitting on the countertop, in her urn. Her pretty urn that my sisters and I picked out. It was definitely one she would like. And she was sitting in there on the countertop!

My purpose is not to be flippant about death. It just sounded like I could get up and run into the next room, and there she would be, sitting on the countertop. Mom had such short legs, that would’ve been really funny to me. I contained my laughter, although I did smile. The lady went into the next room and brought the urn into the conference room where we had been signing papers.

She radioed down to have the niche opened, and when everything was ready, we went and got back onto the golf cart to ride back down to the mausoleum (where we had been a half-hour before to pick out the perfect spots for her and dad). There was one difference: I was holding mom’s urn!

We rode down to the mausoleum. It was sunny but cold. And I carefully held on to my mom. Those same hands I held tightly when I was a little boy were now held tightly once again, but this time my hands were tightly sealed around a large vase. One last time. We arrived at the mausoleum and I carefully walked around to our destination. I had never been the only pall bearer before that day. I gently placed mom’s urn into her niche. And it was over.

Now, I often think about those conversations we had in the hospital. Those talks at breakfast at her house in the last year. This weekend, I have seen places here at the beach and immediately flash to the last time I was there with mom. Almost every night of my life, around 7pm, I think about calling her. And then remember I don’t have the phone number for Heaven. Wow … I miss her.

2 Responses to “One Last Ride in a Golf Cart”

  1. Bmb January 17, 2015 at 1:26 pm #

    What a tender post, David. Touches me in a special way during this season of my life. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Jack Stanton January 18, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    David, I have my own creamation story. When my grandfather passed about 25 years ago at the tender age of 101. The Sons and Daughters had the cremation carried out. The Day of the ceremony and interment…there was a small cardboard box… the kind products are shipped in…in this case it looked like an auto parts box…at that time I still laugh about it..just this small cardboard box on a folding table….it just seemed so surreal or odd that he was buried in a small cardboard box…naturally the real Grandad has gone elsewhere….The Great thing is My grandfather father left me with alot of great memories, stories and the like.

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