22 February 2012

Mother Memory

From time to time in this week since Fannie died, one memory or another from our years in contact will surface. Today, I remembered a dinner with her and one of my sisters in a Louisville seafood house. I was probably about 28. We were talking about death and funerals. As was so often the case when members of my family get together, our conversation consisted of taking turns hurling an opinion into the ring.

With typical youthful bravado I said funerals were macabre rituals that I avoided as often as possible. I said it made no sense to me that people went into debt purchasing caskets and flowers and plots when it made no difference to the deceased.

As was also so often the case, my mother was critical of this opinion, viewing it as one more proof of how "uncouth" I'd become. "Please do yourself a favor and don't say that in front of anyone besides family. Anyone else would see your ignorance and laugh in your face."

How curious, then, that she specified in her will that there be no funeral and that she be cremated within 24 hours.

She apparently changed her mind in the quarter century since our conversation.