April was a helluva month.
I quit one job to get another. Both decent paying jobs, and jobs which were seven hours apart in distance. I moved from where I was living back to my hometown, shacked up with my mother and sister (who had terminal cancer and was on house hospice), and settled in to await the arrival of my family so we could start our lives over again in our old stomping grounds.
How does the saying go? The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men?
So, the last week of work was SUPPOSED to be an easy week. I won't go into the gory details, but my stepbrother (who I grew up with, who might as well have been blood), was in a horrible accident and died in the first month of April. Holy shit, Batman. Trust me, it wasn't something any family should go through.
So I'm kinda shakey, get back to my hometown, and my sister gets really, really sick. She goes into the hospice and eight days later, she passes quietly after almost six years fighting cancer.
What the hell?
So somehow, in less than a month, I go from being a middle kid to an only child. I can't even begin to tell you how I feel about it. And I certainly won't say much here. But right now, it has come to the point that no matter how good a job I landed, well, I am living day-to-day. I think those guys were kind of scared that I would just up and quit....but really, there were several reasons we came home. At the top of the list was me spending time with my sister before she passed. But really, I'm still in shock. PTSD, I suppose. I expected that I would have more time with her, to spend with her and be around her. Again, intent and outcome rarely coincide, and now I am dealing with a double-loss of loved ones.
I don't question my mortality. Someday, every one of us is going to die. It's just part of nature. What I have a hard time wrapping my brain around is the fact that on September 17th, there's not going to be any phone calls to make. The fact that on my birthday, the only blood that's going to wind up calling me is probably my dad and my mom (maybe my redhead). I can't imagine the holidays without my sister, who still in her absence in my life, called and sent things. Texted. And now I'm posting messages on someone's 'wall' that will never get read, writing letters that will never be heard. I've got artwork or pictures of artwork that will never be explained, their meanings.
I think the harder part is trying to figure out what to do with, ah, my sister. Who wanted to be cremated. The poor dear, the further along she went, the more the morphine muddled her mind, so often times she changed exactly what she wanted done with her remains.
One of the things she mentioned was being poured into the Guadalupe at the Riverwalk in San Antonio.
Now, let's think about this. I don't know how many of you people have ever had to deal with remains, but the first problem is that there are BITS. Now, you probably really don't want to go poking around in the bits, being that they're probably bone or tooth. However, when you are releasing remains, you have to consider that wherever you're 'setting someone free', if it's on land, there's a high probability of not everything just melding into the scene of wherever you're wanting to pour them out. BITS, I say.
Second problem - cremation means people have been cooked to the hundredth degree to be reduced to ash. Guess what? Ash floats. Which means that if you're pouring someone into a body of water, don't think everything is just going to sink and be hunky-dory-peachy-keen. Your beloved is going to coat the entire surface of whatever water you pour them in, and if you're lucky, the water is rushing and will wash them mostly out of sight.
Third problem - I don't have a criminal record. I would HATE to have that status change because I've dumped a body in the Riverwalk waterway. Call me paranoid. I can just see that exchange.
Officer - "Ma'am, you just pour something into the river?"
Me - "Um, no?"
Officer - "Ma'am, the container is in your hands. What did you pour into the river?"
Me - "Uh, a body?"
Officer - "A body?"
Me - "Well, yes."
Officer - "........."
Me - "You see, it was my sister's final wish....she used to live in San Antonio...."
Officer - "Ma'am....I think you're going to have to come with me. Would you place your hands behind your back please?"
Yeah, that would be my luck. SO.....I will pick my sister up Wednesday and put her on a shelf until I figure out exactly what to do with her. Don't get me wrong, I'm writing about it, but it's not really something I am thinking about lightly. I don't want to mail her to anyone to dump, because I can't imagine trying to explain the postage, and NOT explaining it would probably land me in jail or something ("Ma'am....a cadaver dog scented on your box.....could we ask you what is inside?"), and frankly, I just want something more personal.
So....short of trying to creep through the little Riverwalk valley at four AM during a weekday, I'm actually working on that problem on top of the pile of paperwork left behind. Apparently my sister thoughtfully told my mother I was able to take care of it all. What she didn't leave was concise instruction, so some of this I'm just winging. I've never had to wrap up anyone's final wishes, so we'll see what happens.
Until then, no matter how flaky I sound, I really love my sister. And I really miss her.