January 11th, 2008 | 22 Comments »

I was a tad surprised about all the controversy about Part I of this piece, because I was writing from my own experience. Really, what else can you write from, unless you’re scraping news stories about Britney Spears?

What people don’t usually want to know, unless they have special circumstances, is when they will die.

Often I will tell a woman that she will outlive her husband, so that she can make sure he has good insurance. Not enough so that she’s tempted to kill him her ownself, because really, all women can relate to that impulse by times. No, enough so that she won’t have financial worries hit her at the same time as grief does. It makes a wreck out of a woman.

Yesterday, I read a beautiful spirit. I saw her husband’s death very soon.

I didn’t see mourning, yet she had been a good wife. I saw her whole life drastically changing, and her dreams coming true very soon.

Her dreams were simple. She wanted to travel. She wanted to have sex after repressing it for over 20 years.

Her husband suffered brain damage over 20 years ago. She has been taking care of him for lo, these twenty some years. She has forgiven him his angry unreasonable outbursts, his irrational behaviour, because she remembered the man he was before. The wonderful man she married.

This man rages and is depressed because he feels trapped in his brain-damaged existence. I wept when I looked at his picture. I saw the pain he suffers.

This woman touched my heart so profoundly. I know I will never forget her.

His death will be a blessing for all concerned.

Posted in What's this?, clients
December 12th, 2007 | 14 Comments »

When Gram was in her early eighties, she took to saying “If I die” quite a lot. I think she was using it for attention, but it cracked me up.

Me: “Grammie, when you say that, it sounds like you have all of these options, and haven’t quite decided which one you’re going to choose.”

Gram: “Oh.”

We’re an eloquent bunch.

What? It’s news to you that we are all going to die? Do you know something I don’t?

My family accuses me of being a shytte disturber. I prefer “awareness facilitator” as in “The Emperor is naked, dude.”

That conversation spurred Grammie on to take action. She enlisted the reluctant services of my fine furniture/cabinet maker brother, Mr. Trick, to make her a lovely coffin.

Her reasoning? Have a beautiful piece made by someone who loves you, and who, incidentally, will give you a great deal on it. A dirt cheap coffin. Perfect for the long dirt nap.

She keeps it in her spare room to store bedding in. I guess I’m milking the dirt nap thing. *Hangs head in mock shame*.

I have a long time best friend from school days who is a high mucky-muck (Grammie’s description) on the newspaper where we are all from. She spoke to one of the reporters about this whole coffin thing, and he contacted Grammie. High Mucky-Muck suggested they wait to do the story until Mr. Trick came to visit Grammie, so the story would have the two viewpoints.

I have met this reporter socially several times. I like to tease him about being wet behind the ears and things like that. He’s a really funny guy, and quick to respond to verbal torture. This is good, because really, who enjoys a duel of wits with an unarmed opponent? Where’s the sport in that?

I warn him that the combination of Mr. Trick and Grammie is double trouble. Mr. Trick eggs Grammie on to new heights of giddiness when he is around. As if she wasn’t a pissah in her own right.

Me: “Those two will eat you for breakfast, Funny Guy Reporter.”

I’m feeling virtuous, and a little smug, because He. Has. Been. Warned. (Think Oprah, trying to control an interview with Jim Carrey. Ain’t no way to control that interview)

FGR calls the house for directions. Gram answers the phone with “There’s nobody home.”

Mr. Trick recounts the process of researching and building a coffin, adding that he should have built it with a false bottom so it could be placed over the gravesite, easily relieved of its cargo, then re-used. I believe he hollered “Next!” at this point, by way of demonstration of course.

FGR admits to being a little creeped out by the whole deal. He tries to get a picture of the coffin being used as a blanket box, (it’s in her spare room, doing storage duty for now) but Gram hops right in and starts a-grinnin’. No way was she going to miss being in the picture that was her claim to fame.

After the interview, which I was there for, I teased FGR about those two running away with the interview plan.

Me: “You were toast.”

And what do we eat for breakfast?


Note: Gram got lots of attention because of this article, which she totally loved. She was interviewed by the CBC (national radio broadcasting network) and had strangers come to her house just to see the coffin. The newspaper image is here.