I always wondered just who looked at the weather report and determined whether the day would be "partly cloudy" or "partly sunny," because, in fact, both are true.
As I write this, I am sitting in Vernon, New Jersey, in front of my brother's dial-up computer, dreading the interment of my mother tomorrow at St. John's Cemetery in Queens. It is not the expectation of sadness - I was reconciled to my mother's death because she was, and I know I will feel grief, because I already have and, I daresay, I will feel more of it when she becomes the guest of honor next October on my ofrenda for the Day of the Dead.
Rather, I am dreading it because it will bring more disorientation. I have been here since Sunday morning and I want to be at home. Lat Sunday night was the Christmas Classic, my church's annual dinner dance, and I found myself depressed because I was missing a tradition of my holiday season. It made me realize what a family of friends I cherish at my parish and how I miss them.
I wish my husband was here, as Mark remains the rudder of certainty in my life. Next to him, however, I have my other important man in my life with me - my son, Patrick. His presence is calming and keeps me from losing it, because I know he relies on me. Last night my heart broke because he had a case of homesickness and started crying how he wanted to go home. So do I, sweetie, I thought, but I realized part of the problem was the brutal cold that the East had seen the past two days. Today was warmer and we went swimming at Uncle Greg's health club and his outlook on life improved immensely.
I still worry - tomorrow I have to face my mentally ill sister at the cemetery. Last week we had an ugly scene with her at the mortuary and me on the telephone, where she lost it and called me a "f***in' b**ch c**t" in front of the mortuary director - now she told my brother that she is coming "to give a eulogy" at the graveside and who knows what she will say. She has no respect for boundaries or propriety. Even when I picked up my mother's ashes on Monday, the mortuary director told me that Cassie called him several times on Saturday, begging that he "sneak her some ashes." However, they remain intact and will be laid to rest tomorrow.
Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh. I have two very good companions with me in the form of books, of which I want to write about more, but for now, I will tell you give me some insight, some comfort, and light a spark to my faith. If you have not read Archbishop Chaput's book, Render Unto Caesar, go and buy it now. And while you are shopping for that, if you have a priest you love, buy yourself and him Fr. Michael Heher's book, The Lost Art of Walking on Water.
Partly cloudy, partly sunny. At least tomorrow I will see friends and family whom I love and they will help me with my duty of burying my mother. Then Thursday Patrick and I get to go home. This Saturday is our traditional day to buy the Christmas tree and decorate it. I am looking forward to that.