30 May 2009

Visitation accomplished

We had our visitation Thursday night. As such events go, not a bad evening. We opted not to have a lot of the sad 'funeral' music so prevalent, except for 'Taps' and 'Eternal Father, Strong To Save' (the Hymn of the US Navy, among others). Mostly the background was the old-school country music Frank was so fond of. The final selection before Honors was one of his favorites, 'Thank God (And Greyhound), You're Gone'. Somehow I can't help that it was a heavenly parting shot from him to all of us.

Now, you're probably thinking 'If that was one of his fave songs, he musta been a real hick'. Perhaps. Most of the people in town have a bit of hick in them-even yours truly. That part of northwest Illinois is not exactly the state's center of culture. Possibly we're the state's center of what my Aussie friends would call 'boganism' mixed with some good ol' Yank river rat.

At any rate, I saw some folks I'd not seen or thought about in years-decades in a few cases-and caught with a couple of auld mates from school who stopped by.

A few laughs, and not so many tears. As it should be. Personally I'd like my visitation/funeral to be like in the first 30 seconds of this clip from 'Red Dwarf'.

Time now to move forward. Thanks all for your support, everyone-much appreciated.

I see now that there's a big lot of cleaning up to do, most of you have scurried off like Big Bad Al's RoboRoach. Nice.

Much to do now. Ta.

yankeedog out.

26 May 2009

The end planned.

Today we got the end ceremonies planned out for Frank. We're doing a simple visitation and military honors (He had 4 years in the Army, and 16 in the Navy, including time right at the end of the Korean War, so he's entitled). The local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) will play 'Taps' and present a flag to Mom. Any gifts from the funeral will go to said VFW-perhaps they could help another family of our current soldiers.

After that, cremation. He wanted burial at sea, but it is expensive and dependent on a Navy ship being available to perform the duty. His sister lives in Seattle, and we're thinking she could run up to Bremerton (he was stationed at Bremerton Base for a time) and place his ashes in Puget Sound. Incidentally, he was part of the plankowner (first) crew of the destroyer tender USS Puget Sound (AD-38). Dulce et decorum est...

I reckon I'm going to tear up a bit when I hear 'Taps'. I always do. Rather glad you all won't be there to see that. I'd never hear the end of it.

Still very busy, of course, and not quite sure of the endgame with Mom. Only two chambers of her heart are working-and they're hooked up to a pacemaker/defibrillator. I'm not too sure she's got a whole lot longer. She says she's ready, because life is no great time right now. When the body gets in that shape, death is probably a release.

A bit morbid-more so than I'm feeling, oddly. Sorry. I'm sure one of you regulars will come up with some humor and snappiness, though.

Cheers all, mates.

yankeedog out.

24 May 2009

A long mess...

This weekend my stepfather died-he went out to fetch the paper and let the dog out, fell there, and I reckon was likely dead when he hit the floor. In the scheme of things, probably not a bad way to go.

My mom was a bit estranged from both me and my brother over the last few years, and I didn't see either Mom or my stepfather for a long while. So it wasn't particularly easy to go to the house today. Mom has a litany of health problems, as did my stepdad at the end. It got so he couldn't do a lot of any domestic stuff. And the two had, well, let's just call it 'some issues' and leave it at that.

Obviously, there's a lot to do. Aside from the normal logistics of arranging a funeral, getting survivors' benefits and the myriad of paperwork in order, the house looks, to be honest, like a small war went through. Bangar has written about 'the leech', his housekeeping, and the cleanup. That would be a piece of cake compared to this. My aunt and I cleaned up the kitchen some, and we've got a beachhead established, but this is going to take a while. I cleaned out some food items that had expiration dates going back to 1998. I think tomorrow we'll try to tackle the refrigerator. I'm not looking forward to that.

I don't know what I'm going to do with Mom. She seems to want to stay in the house-and if we can get it grubbed out that might work for a time. I'd like to look into visiting nurses that could come in and make sure she's OK and that she has all of her meds. When things degrade, perhaps assisted living closer to where I'm at (right now it's about a 100 km drive to the old hometown). I don't know. One thing at a time. There's a lot of things I can do on the weekends there-mowing, laundry, and any minor home things that need to be done. Also, my aunt (her sister) lives in town, so she could do some minor errands when I can't make it up there.

Life, kids, just got a little more interesting. I suppose the comms here are going to get spotty for a while. Much to do. So you lot play nice.

And to steal BigBadAl's phrase: 'Be good and kind to each other".

yankeedog out.