This is a blow-by-blow of my journey into pre-arrangement for the time when ah…my departure from the tiny footprint I have imprinted on this planet arrives. I will post in several segments each Friday. This is to give those who haven’t thought about it an idea of what might transpire: expect the unexpected.
Monday, December 9
I want to throw up. I can’t put this off any longer. The days on the calendar flip on and off and race forward. I must be ready when the time comes. I’ve decided not to dwell on my strangled thoughts, but will leap in with open arms as I imagine a bungee jumper does her first time.
I feel in a trance, suspended somewhere I don’t recognize. Who am I? I called The Funeral Home earlier this morning but had to leave a message. A man by the name of Rick returned my call at 1:45 pm, and after several tries, we settled on an appointment for 10:00 a.m. the following Friday. What? That’s the 13th—Friday the 13th.
I’m not paranoid—all right, I suppose I am—a little. My stomach lurches and my head weaves.
Friday, December 13
The 13th arrives but I must cancel my appointment. The day before, my granddaughter fell in the school yard and cracked the top of her head. She’s home in bed now and I can’t leave her. After the school bus left earlier with the younger one, I rushed to reschedule my appointment a minute after nine. Now that I’ve made the first move, I can procrastinate no more. This undertaking (no pun intended) isn’t going to get any easier with time. I want to cross this off my list while I am able.
The internet is down, the cable is dark and the phone is a blankness of silence. What is the universe up to today? Conspiracy or salvation? Every few minutes I try the phone but reach a vacuum, yawning emptiness.
Five minutes before my scheduled time slot, the line cleared and I rang through to arrange another meeting for the following Tuesday. There, I feel better already. No Friday, the 13th. Lucky me—I think.
Tuesday, December 17
It’s time again. My eyes won’t focus, my stomach jitter-bugs and I feel light-headed and forty degrees of nauseated. I do hope I stay in control and not lose it.
Rick is pleasant and somehow I notice, good looking. I’m still here aren’t I? If I hadn’t poked fate or borrowed trouble, I’d never have noticed, would I? We wouldn’t be meeting, would we? Of course, a black suit, shoes shellacked to a blinding shine and mischievous blue eyes will do that for a man. “Can I get you a coffee?” he asks.
I shake my head because my tongue is in knots, but I want to scream to the likes of, “HELL NO! You have coffee in a place like this? Isn’t it disrespectful guzzling black gold among those who can no longer enjoy a cup with us?” Then, my mind settles a bit and is dry as cotton gauge and full of holes. I’m afraid I’ll become lost in there soon.
“Are you all right?” His voice is soft and too close.
”I’m fine. Let’s get to it.”
“You sure I can’t get you a coffee?”
I cave in and nod. At least a mug of coffee will give me something to do with my hands. The mug warms them and the drink is outstanding. I like mine black these days which means I taste the deepest flavour good or bad and damn, this is good. Why wouldn’t it be? Good people pay a lot of money to a place like this. The least they can do is serve the best coffee my money can buy.
Each time a new subject comes up, Rick leaves the meeting room and I am alone too many times. Not well organized, I think. If I can nitpick, I must be doing okay. I pat myself on the back, but I won’t lie, I am ticked the process isn’t more methodical and less a waste of my time.
The meeting reaches its end. I remember little. Rick gives me a dollar figure. The cost is four times more than I expected or planned for. “I need to process all this.”
He nods. “Take your time.”
I’m woozy and floating again. Does helium come in through the air vents to calm grieving families?
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This is copied from my journal. Tune in again next Friday if you’re wish to read another segment.