How to explain this. My mother is from Wisconsin, and the only one of 5 to pick up and move outside her home state. (True story: after graduating college, she flipped a coin; heads New York or tales Boston. You could say my life is based upon twenty five cents.) Whenever my family flew out to visit my mother’s side of the family, Grammy and Grampy always said that this would be the last time we’d see them. This started around the time I was 10, and suffice to say, my grandparents were around well into my 20’s.
One Thanksgiving we flew out to spend the holiday with our Midwestern family. The day after, all the cousins decided to go to this indoor pool with a high diving board. (As a 10 or 11 year old, that shit is super cool.) Since my sister was the oldest one, and the only one with her license, she sweetly volunteered to drive all us younger ones to the pool. Grampy said, Oh, I’ll drive in front of you so you know where you’re going. Hannah very kindly said, Thanks Grampy, but I know where to go. He insisted, so she agreed. So there we were: Hannah, me, and like, four other of our cousins in the van, following my grandfather’s Cadillac…when it dawned on all of us that he took a different turn…into the cemetery. We drove for a little bit in the grave yard when his car stopped, and he got out, walked to our car, asked us to pull down the window. He said “The next time you all are out here, this is probably where I’ll be, so now you’ll know where to go to say hi.” Crickets.
Flash forward to August of 2007, and my grandmother became increasingly frail. She had a stroke in the later part of August, and the doctors said that she would never recover. My mother and her 4 siblings decided to let her go peacefully. I’m sure this decision must have been painful and surreal, and the five of them were told that she’d only survive another x amount of days. So, the Tack children (that is my mom’s maiden name) started planning for the inevitable. Where the wake was going to be, who was to be doing the floral arrangements, what photos were to be displayed, what kind of casket…even the date and time of her funeral. Thing was, though, she wasn’t dead yet. So as the doctor’s ‘due date’ came and went, and Grammy was still alive, my mom became increasingly stressed. I couldn’t believe it, she and her siblings were getting pissed that their mother wasn’t dying on time. I actually told my mother that I thought it was the weirdest thing that they even planned the date of her funeral; and she said it was perfectly normal, and that people were flying in for the ceremony, and now they’ll have to rearrange everything. Well, no fucking shit, Grammy still has a pulse.
September 7, 2007 Grammy passed away. It was only 3 or so days past the predicted death day, but I remember being in the church at her funeral smirking to myself and thinking: way to go, Grammy. You did it on your time, on your schedule, no one else's.