Things I’ve Learned From Dead People – Four.

  • When a beloved matriarch or patriarch dies suddenly, the wake of disaster left behind is so far-reaching, that it is often visible from space.
  • Even during the (out-of-ordinary) rainy season, folks still have no tolerance for the slightest bit of mud on the headstone or marker belonging to a loved one.
  • Special Chinese and Vietnamese text characters take very unique precision to accurately inscribe into granite or marble.
  • Yes, it’s true…the crematorium CAN (and indeed, HAS) caught fire during a service in recent weeks.
  • When an “at-need” deceased individual has passed away and his next of kin tries to pay for his services with his own checking account, the police get involved pretty quickly.
  • It is actually quite acceptable to eat lunch each day beneath the shade of the Live Oaks in the “Apostles” section of cemetery.

Who’s Winning?

“…love was as hardwired into the structure of the universe as gravity and matter.”
– Dan Simmons, The Rise of Endymion

one-ocean

For my own contribution to the pretentiousness of celebrating Saint Beheaded for my Defiance of a Medieval Catholic Pope’s Marriage LawsValentine’s Day, I wanted to simply share my own notions behind LOVE and the definition that I personally carry of it; for anyone who may be interested…
Love is not knowing, but jumping in anyway.
Love is the feeling of stitches dissolving in your skin.
Love is the smile of an innocent child in the grips of wonder.
Love is a giant, canine bearing sea-lion being afraid of you.
Love is sunshine.
Love is an all-encompassing acceptance that changes your DNA.
Love is hoping against all logic or reason.
Love is being the first face to come into view, every time.
Love can be tangible.
Love can be fickle.
Love can bring us to our knees, in many different variances.
Love will NEVER leave us alone.
Love is darkness.
Love is light.
Love is the answer as well as the question in languages that humanity does not yet speak.
Love may be a language that humanity as we know it never learns.
Love was the mother of all Hatred.
Love is the force behind all of it, everything.
Love bore Mother Earth, the Sun, and every star.
Love is God. God is a Goddess. The Goddess falls back in Love.
Love can conquer all.
Love doesn’t necessarily want to conquer all.
And lastly,
When I didn’t love Love, it loved Me, Anyway.

Teela Hart’s Survivors.

I know people have wondered about it: the way that one of my dearest friends passed out of this world in silence almost a year ago now – without a word from me about it on my blog. I have gnawed a hole in one cheek over her death and the subsequent silence that has been attached to its deeply reverberating shock waves.

Teela was like a sister to me…she will always be like a sister to me.

The reason behind my lack of public response to Teela’s death is complex:

My late friend has children, the notable forces behind her strength and perseverance, the driving factor behind her survival for many years out of her life, the most recent years. Her children, as innocents, have undoubtedly been victimized alongside her throughout her domestic violence Hell over the years; they have also been subjected to loads of trauma and grief that no individual should have to carry, especially not alone.

I have been (im)patiently waiting to hear from any one of the three of them since Teela’s shocking death, to no avail. This has been why I have not openly mourned my friend’s passing yet – as I wanted to get in touch with her children, I wanted to allow them to have time to process and grieve. It was hard as Hell to wait without any word from them, and without any way to find them either.

I have been worried sick over the younger two (a boy and a girl – both still underage) since I learned that Tee was gone; I have been feeling things on a personal level in regard to their well-being (or lack, thereof), as Teela spent so much energy and time in carving out the taste of freedom and goodness that she was able to give them in the half-year or so leading up to her passing. I know that she would have looked out for my babies if the situation had ever called for it in our history together, and I have felt as if I needed to find her babies and look out for them now…in whatever capacity Life allows.

Teela’s daughter, (2 years younger than my own) finally reached out to me last night after all this time; and let me tell you it was one of the most surreal and touching (in ways both good and painful) experiences I have ever had. She is a beautiful young woman with a heart that mirrors her mama’s heart perfectly; she is a soldier just like her mama; she is struggling more than her mama would have ever been able to bear knowing – in so many various ways. But she reached out; and I intend to support her as strongly and undeniably as if she were Tee.

I was validated in my fears of what has become of Teela’s babies, that they have been forced through necessity to return from the Bat Cave to their father’s home in North Carolina…a fact that makes me want to wretch.

I confirmed many negatives and very few (if any) positives last night regarding the status of my late “Right Hand’s” surviving children…and I feel compelled to make it known to the world: the ways that these two underage and grieving children (of a TRUE mother bear that many of us knew and loved here at WP) continue to fight for the simplest of comforts and safety and security. I will write more on this topic after work, but in the meantime here’s how we can help Teela Hart’s Survivors. I thank you in advance for any humanity you might show these young people who have lost the ONLY positive force they’ve ever had.

https://www.gofundme.com/teela-harts-survivors

Things I’ve Learned From Dead People 3.

  1. Dead people are ALWAYS accompanied by paperwork; if they have no paperwork, we unfortunately have NO business with them, or their loved ones.
  2. Even when it comes to a thing as sacred as a family burial plots, the living are conniving weasels behind the backs of their own family members.
  3. When or if you ever find yourself dealing with a service counselor, funeral director or arranger, there is a strong possibility that you are actually engaging with a retired Marine or Navy officer; it is just as strong of a possibility that you are being counseled by a surviving POW (At my cemetery, at least).
  4. Regardless of your own religion or belief system, it is out of a generalized respect for human life and death that you should ALWAYS stand and bow your head to the passing of a funeral procession (even our yard crew guys stop what they are doing and remove their caps when they see one coming or going by).
  5. It is a true fact that a disturbing number of people (that you know) have already planned their own burial wardrobe.
  6. Most people who are buried in a casket are not wearing shoes.
  7. The “toe-tag” has evolved into no more than an urban legend these days.
  8. Where I work, there are record books that are each literally heavier than me from the 1800s that were hand-written and can still be accessed to date.
  9. Thousands of people died of “Dentation” in the old days.
  10. Even in death, we continue to intentionally pollute our Mother Earth through our need to be preserved and maintained.

Candid Moments: Me and Mom on 1/29/2017.

Mom finally got through her second round of chemo yesterday…it’s been a helluva fight for her to just to be well enough to get the course finished. Also, she is officially free of the oxygen tank for now, which is BIG for her given she had 4% saturation when she went into the ICU. 

….told y’all my mama is a badass. 😎

Things I’ve Learned From Dead People: One.

Since starting my new job at the Cemetery/Mortuary, I have learned several noteworthy things from dead people. I work in a place that is corporately run – with departments, teams, hiring bonuses and paid vacation days. We have over 100 employees physically working the grounds in various positions seven days a week, rain or shine; our shockingly diverse staff is comprised of people from every nationality, sexual orientation, race, social class, culture that are each chasing very different professional goals from day to day.

There are the snooty, stuck-up girl cliques in the offices (including mine); there are the poindexters who don’t know how to make eye contact with someone of the opposite sex; we have the “wise folks” – “the middle school” – and “the babies” (who are young enough to be my children, which has been an eye-opening disturbance in my personal self-image lol), three quite disparate age groups of employees of either sex, ranging from baby boomers to last year’s high school graduates…it makes up a rather striking workforce when it’s all smeared around the break room. Again, I have observed the community affect amongst these people, despite the fact that not a single one of us would hang out together on our own time, outside of work. In this case, it is the job ethic attached to the place we are employed together and engaged in daily actions with the families that we serve as a collective. We each have a task to complete perfectly in order to honor and respect the dead in the most memorable ways for each one that we receive.

It’s mind-blowing to me over and over, as we wrap up another service and interment/inurnment etc.: the absolute and undeniable amount of pride, dignity and poise that I repeatedly see in each and every person’s efforts. I have felt a renewed sense of hope in humanity since I started to notice this about my co-workers; it’s my entire company, in general, as we are trained heavily in ethics, professional decorum and appropriate behavior in this specific industry. It has been a really enriching experience already, somehow, despite the nature of its operations.

 

I have also found some things to be not so positive about working at a funeral home on cemetery grounds, such as:

 

  • Dead people do not have “wishes” any longer; whatever desires a dead person may have put into writing or words during Life get buried or cremated along with them.
  • Despite the hideously dwindling economy, the money being invested into land plots by people from ALL walks of Life before they die is TRULY MINDBOGGLING.
  • When it rains for 19 days straight in a cemetery, the place gets seriously hard on the eyes.
  • Just because people have solid work ethics doesn’t mean they take it home with them when they punch out.
  • It is true what they say about the gossip at the water cooler (which just so happens to be right behind my desk).

I Know.

I know what you’re thinking…

You’re thinking dark things to yourself now…like:

how all of those people in your past, the ones you helped nurse through to recovery from breast cancer, colon cancer, even a brain tumor; they’ve all gotten well and forgotten about you, when you needed those kindly offered favors returned. Oh Mama, how well I perceive how you feel.

You’re thinking about all the years that you poured out of yourself into others who are long dead already; you’re thinking about how short your end of the stick turned out to be; you’re thinking that you’ve been conquered by the things that other people do or say…or don’t do or say; you think it’s time to resign and become this helpless refugee who can’t find the motivation in your brain to keep your body moving your bones.

I’m thinking about how strong your spirit is when I look down onto your drawn face and seek out any flicker of light within those sunken eyes; I’m thinking back onto my youngest recollections of you: a beautiful woman in a skirt and pantyhose, wrenching at a flat tire on the freeway shoulder – not giving a fuck. I’m thinking about how much you have gone through in your hard lifetime already, even before Cancer pirated your body and brain; before your partner abandoned you and you became homeless…and, when I think about these things, I can barely breathe. I’m thinking about how you have the right to decide when you’re too tired to fight this bullshit life any longer, to “throw in the towel” as you said this morning to my nodding head and tear-streaked face. I’m thinking about so many things that make me feel as if I’m being strong-armed by some invisible being, robbed and stripped of my medals and badges.

You’re thinking it’s time to go; I’m thinking how much I hate the fact that I understand how you feel, completely.

Mama, you are not helpless, you could never be that; you’re not built that way…but you can be tired; you can be forlorn; just don’t be gone too soon.