Sunday, July 31, 2016
Suddenly there is so much to do.
Obviously, there's a funeral director to deal with -- even if, as in our case, there is no funeral -- and there are clothes and possessions to sort. But there are also credit cards to cancel, insurance policies to claim, pension plans and 401Ks and property titles and blah blah blah. All the little essentials and conveniences of modern life that must be wrapped up neatly.
We met with the funeral director yesterday, and I must say, the guy was great. He was very direct and didn't try to upsell us on anything. My father wants a simple cremation with no service whatsoever. My stepmother did decide to buy an urn, but the funeral director didn't even urge that upon us -- it was her decision. Cremation is a process that takes a while, so I may be back in London by the time his ashes become available. We don't have a firm plan for what we're going to do with them.
Funny aside: During our meeting, the funeral director's cell phone rang several times. His somewhat startlingly loud ringtone was the theme from "The Godfather." Which, coincidentally, was one of my dad's favorite movies. We all laughed.
We decided to go ahead and place an obituary in the newspaper. We debated whether Dad would even want that -- but he always read the obituaries, and I think it's only fair to give his former coworkers and students an opportunity to know. I've got to get that done today.
My brother and I went to breakfast at McDonald's yesterday, where we sat beneath this depiction of Lutz, our suburban community, back in its early years. My brother thinks the people look suspiciously prosperous -- probably nothing at all like the residents of hardscrabble turn-of-the-century Lutz. But you gotta give McD's some credit for trying to create a sense of place in what would otherwise be generic plasticland.
I spent some time with Maybelline yesterday in her dog yard. She's a crazy girl. She loves to lie in my lap, even though she's about 40 pounds and always full of sand. Like all dogs, she is in the moment. If she feels any absence, it doesn't show.
My brother and I went through my dad's garage, and my brother collected some spare Volkswagen parts to take back to Jacksonville. He carries on Dad's interest in Volkswagens, and it's good to know all that stuff won't be wasted. The garage is an interesting embodiment of my dad's mind -- everything categorized and neatly stashed in zillions of tiny jars and boxes and drawers and cabinets. Way too much complexity for me. It's all too organized to be called hoarding, but we did marvel at some of what Dad saved. We have a lifetime's supply of desiccated rubber fittings and damp, ancient matchbooks!