April 18, 2010

The Circle of Life

This is the week of goodie bags, last minute RSVPs and a cake from Costco. My daughter turned three and yesterday was her first birthday party with friends joining the fun. But the art of preparation took two tracks after a phone call Tuesday. My grandmother died. Her name was Dorothy. Our family called her Dodo. I was not only her granddaughter, but her power of attorney.

So after the tears dried, I was suddenly in charge of planning a funeral, one plotted out years ago to take place in Dodo’s beloved old home of Chicago. She would travel one last time back to the Windy City, where she left for Arizona.

Who knew a permit was needed to plan her trip back? Who knew even though she prepaid for this day, the prices of “third party services” increased with inflation and a check for the differences needed to be overnighted to the mortuary? I needed to find a rabbi and gently handle relatives who had their own two cents on how things should be handled. There was the call to stop Dodo’s BlueCross coverage. And arrangements must still be made for her things in her room at her group home. My brother? He lives in Tokyo. Tough for him to help several time zones away. Settling Dodo’s finances is a task for a future day. After faxes and phone calls, the service is settled for Monday. And I can’t even go. I’m eight months pregnant.

But before the new week begins, I plan to take a breath. New toys must be assembled. Birthday party pictures must be uploaded. Two emotionally opposite events in two cities … and all in one week.

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