We hadn’t even made it to the funeral home yet and I knew it was going to be a long awkward day. My husband was irate. He told me to bring my mom’s truck back to the house immediately and so before the wake that’s what I did. I knew them being so nice was all a big bullshit act. I honestly don’t even think my brother had any clue as to what his wife was doing or saying.
I still hadn’t had a good nights rest and by time I had reached the funeral home that day I was seriously in a state of complete shock. I tried to put all my ill feelings for my brother and his wife aside and just get through the day. I walked into the room to see my mom again. I walked up to the casket and knelt down and in my head I talked to her. I told her I was sorry. That I didn’t think I could fix things at this point. That I was so disappointed with my brother and I hoped she could see now and understand.
As I walked around the room and looked at the old photos of days past I noticed there was another board filled with pictures and it wasn’t from me. When I got a better look I realized there was several photos from my brothers wedding. All the ones I didn’t include. There was also photos of my mom’s cousin and then various other people. I asked my cousin Nikki where that board came from and she told me Aunt Bea had brought it. Again that day my uncle Bob, Aunt Bea and even her kids sat off to the side right next to my brother and Satan. It was perfectly clear to me that day that they were trying to get under my skin.
At some point halfway through I noticed that my Aunt’s and Uncle’s were all missing from the room. I asked someone where they went and I was told the funeral director brought them all downstairs to pick out their urns for my mom’s ashes. Then I noticed my grandmother was still in the room. No one had even thought to bring her down there to pick hers out and so I grabbed her and escorted her down to the showroom. My aunt Bea and Aunt Debbie were down there and as soon as Aunt Bea realized my grandmother hadn’t picked hers out, she grabbed her arm and started to drag her around the room. I left and let them take care of it from there.
The first viewing had come and gone and my family came back to my mom’s house. After a while I realized that my brother and his wife weren’t there. They never showed up either. Didn’t matter anyway, they didn’t do a god damn thing to help out the day before. I forgot to add this in my post about the previous day so I’ll add it now. I had done all the shopping for the previous day but my brother told me he and Satan would bring the drinks. Of course they would, drinking is Satan’s favorite hobby. They came with a few bottles of Soda and one bottle of Sangria. Sangria for a wake? It just seems inappropriate, something you’d bring for a Cinco di mayo celebration. Anyway; my brother told me they were stopping and picking up drinks on the way there and asked if I needed anything. I realized that I forgot to buy sweetener for the coffee and so I asked him to pick some up. He shows up at the house and reaches into his pocket and pulls out a bunch of loose packets of various artificial sweeteners! He stole them from a local convenience store! I know they sell them there but Satan was probably too cheap to buy it herself. I just thought it was funny.
At my mom’s house that day everyone had noticed that the lights were flickering in her kitchen. It happened the previous day too, but this day it was a lot more intense and everyone in the house was commenting on it. I had been in my mom’s house countless times in the past year and there was only one other time her lights were flickering like that. It was the day after her birthday. My husband and I were there because we didn’t attend the party at my brother’s house, the day prior. My brother and Satan conveniently forgot to give my mom her birthday gift at the party and so they showed up the next day with it. When they got there, the lights in the kitchen started to flicker like crazy. Satan didn’t like it. She was bugging out saying that it had to be because there was too much electric being used and so she ran around the house turning lights and air conditioners off trying to make it stop, but they just kept flickering. Every took it as a sign from my mom that she was with us.
That day I really wanted to tell Uncle Bob he was not welcome in my mom’s home. It was very obvious he was visibly uncomfortable. He and Aunt Bea, both planted their asses in the living room that day and stayed there until it was time to go back to the funeral home. I couldn’t get it out of my head that my brother said he knew I was trying to get my mom to write him out of the will. There was only one place he could’ve gotten that from and I was looking right at the two guilty parties.
By the time the second viewing came, I was completely wiped. I couldn’t talk anymore both literally and physically. I felt like a zombie, like someone had sucked the life out of me. As people were approaching me expressing their sympathy I hardly knew what to say anymore. I had told the story so many times at that point. I almost just wanted to hide in a corner and not be seen.
At one point, my brother’s childhood best friend showed up. He had tried getting in touch with my brother but my brother never responded. I explained to him that my brother was with this succubus who wouldn’t allow him to have his own life. Knowing the story, he still came to pay his respects. A few days after the wake he messaged me to tell me that when he came to the wake he walked up to me and he could visually see that this had taken a huge toll on me. I looked wrecked over it. He said then he and his wife walked over to my brother and Satan and the vibe was completely different. They were laughing and talking like they were at a bar or something. He said they didn’t even look the least bit upset. He introduced his wife to my brother and he told me that Satan just turned her head away. Wouldn’t even give his wife the time of day. Yup, that sounded about right.
The funeral director had asked us the previous day if we wanted a priest to do a eulogy. Although both me and my brother do not practice any religion we elected to have one because we knew it would bring comfort to my family. My mom was not religious either, but I believe she would’ve wanted a priest for the same reason. I also told the funeral director that I would’ve liked to say something too. The priest came in a few minutes before he was going to do his reading. Since we hadn’t attended church in over two decades, we didn’t really have a priest we were familiar with. He asked my brother and I a lot of questions about our mother.
We went back in the room and lined up in the front row. I took my grandmother and sat her down in one of the big chairs. My husband sat on the opposite side. There was one chair left and obviously it was for my brother. My Aunt Bea went and grabbed another chair for Satan to sit next to us. It was symbolic of how we all thought of her. She was just an extra chair who never really felt part of the family.
The priest did his reading in which I felt like I couldn’t even follow. I was really disappointed because it was totally impersonal. He didn’t make any mention of any of the things we had discussed about my mom prior. When he was done, he just said goodnight and walked away. He didn’t even ask if anyone else had anything to say about my mom. He just walked away. I had written a eulogy but I froze. I didn’t know what to do. I felt really strange standing up because by that time everyone started to get out of their seats and walk away. I never got to read my eulogy and I’m still upset about it to this day.
The night was coming to an end and oddly enough, the lights in the room at the funeral home started to flicker just like the lights at the house, and everyone was commenting about it. This was it. Time to say goodbye to my mother forever. I looked around the room and realized there were so many cards. Before my brother could take them, I stated to go around the room and collect them. I also took the guest book. As the daughter, I felt it was my job to write out the thank you cards, to those who had attended the wake. I wanted to hold on to them for dear life. I knew if my brother got them there was no way he was writing out the cards. There was no way I was going to allow Satan to write out these cards. It was MY mother. They got to do everything else, this was my job. I purposely ordered blank cards so I could write a special message to everyone individually.
I handed the cards off to my husband and told him not to let go of them. A few minutes later I see the funeral director taking them from him. I was so mad. They came in and pulled me and my brother out to the lobby. They had all the cards and photos put in bags. They handed us the death certificates and gave me four and my brother got five. As she stared to pack the Mass cards into the bag my brother asked if he could take half and I said, “no, I want to write out the cards.”. He sat there and argued with me and I firmly told him, “NO! Your wife is not writing out cards for my mother.”. He still took half of the thank you cards. I didn’t care. It was time I put my foot down and took control of my life.
He and Satan left in a huff. I didn’t care. My aunts and uncles hung around to the end. We all stood there in silence around my mom’s casket. Everyone crying and holding one another. I felt like I couldn’t move. My grandmother went up to the casket and kissed my mom’s head and kept saying, “my baby, I love you.”. It was the most heartbreaking thing to watch. I couldn’t handle it. I broke down. I reflected on the last year and all me and my mom had gone through, all the ups and downs. All the struggles, the shock and disappointment. I felt like together we had gone to war, like we were soldiers of our own army. We both in our own ways fought so hard, right down to the end. I thought about how she suffered and endured so much pain both mental and physical and it was all for nothing. Saying that I felt defeated and deflated in that moment is an understatement. I felt like the biggest failure in the world. I couldn’t save her. I had been trying to save her for the last ten years of her life. Death changes you. My mom changed drastically after my dad died and I felt like I spent that last decade trying to find the old her and bring her back. I failed and especially in the last three years. I am a fixer by nature I just wanted to fix her but she was broken.
When she first got sick I promised her that I would be there with her to the very end, holding her hand and the one thing I could feel good about was at least that. I stick by her side to the last breath. I have never loved someone so much in my life. My mom was one of a kind. A truly unique person. The bond we shared was like no other. I will never be the same. My life is forever changed and I feel this huge void, this emptiness that I can’t even explain. I feel like half of me is missing. My mom was ALWAYS there for me. She loved me unconditionally, and it was truly unconditional. She always had my back and was the only person in this world who really, and purely understood who I was…..because she made me who I am today and I am so proud and lucky that I got to call her mom, for 35 years.
The night was over. I was the last person to leave the room that night. I rubbed her arm one last time and told her I love and will miss her forever. I told her to go be with my dad. She is free now. Free from all the misery this world brought to her. Free from the pain. Free from the stress. She is finally at peace. I never truly understood what that meant when people said it after someone died, but now I get it. She is in heaven.
From that day on I knew I was heading into a whole new battle. One like I had never known before and everything I thought was going to happen… well it happened.