We have laughed hard. I didn’t expect so much laughter. Jill put on mom’s old red robe from the 70’s and squeezed her toes into mom’s new black church shoes she never got to wear due to swollen feet. And she walked down the hallway pigeon-toed and ridiculous. And we all laughed hard, belly laughs. Then, we couldn’t stop the tears as she squeezed into one of mom’s favorite pink outfits - pictured above. (Jill is 5’10”. Mom was 5’3”) Oh, it’s so good to laugh.
When we went to the burial site to make some final arrangements, I was trying to understand the pricing the man was telling us compared to what I had seen online. In a very serious voice, he said, “That’s an intelligent question!” Chuck laughed really hard at that response, and repeated the statement. The gentleman went on to explain that it truly was an intelligent question because the prices online are lower than what he was quoting us. I definitely did NOT notice that, but I went with it since it made me look smart. Since I had mentioned the website, he would honor the lower pricing. Ha! It WAS an intelligent question. We needed to laugh hard. And, I must say, my mom would be proud that we got a bargain on the gravesite. She was always looking for a good deal.
On mom’s last night, she was struggling to breathe. The hospice nurse told us we should elevate her head in bed. Well, mom and dad have a super nice, thick memory foam bed. You don’t just lift the head of those. So, we were trying to figure out how we could keep her head elevated. (She tended to slip off the pillows.) Scott disappeared from the living room, and came back a while later with an old, pithy, shedding boogey board from 1980 he had found in the garage. With it under his arm (as if he was about to jump in the waves) he said, “Maybe we can use this to prop up mom’s head.” Oh my goodness. We needed to laugh hard. Thankfully that reminded dad that our neighbor had one of those big wedge pillows. That worked better. But, I love that Scott embodied one of mom’s most famous motos: “There’s almost always something you can do!”
Probably one of the funniest moments (so far) was when we were waiting for the gentleman to come take mom’s body. (That actual experience was not funny at all, and when I’m ready, I’ll write about it.) But, several of us were sitting outside talking. I saw a truck pull up and I said to Carolyn, “I think that’s THEM. This might be hard.” So, I started walking toward the truck, preparing my heart to meet the man who would take my mom’s body away. I was looking down at the ground; when I lifted my head, the man was holding a HUGE SHOVEL. What?!!! My mind raced and I couldn’t make sense of the site I was seeing. And I can see a cage in his truck!?! Then I see it; the words on the side of the truck ,"The Gopher Man". Dad has been trying to kill this gopher for months. Even at mom’s hospice party he was putting poison in the ground. This gopher is elusive. He has a will to live. The Gopher Man had finally been hired to do the deed. He was here to collect a gopher (hence the shovel) and the $50 reward. Thankfully he was sensitive and perceptive. As I got closer, and we both realized something was weird, be said, “Is this a bad time?” For killing a gopher? YES! He quickly put the shovel in the truck and drove away. We needed to laugh hard.
Thank you God for laughter. Thank you for family who can laugh through the tears. Thank you for JOY. Mom’s prayer was that she would keep on keeping on being joyful. We’re doing that. For her. Because of her. Through You.