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Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Friday, November 5


For those of you who may not know, in 2005 my husband and I moved from Nashville, TN to Pennsylvania after he accepted a new job as the IT Manager with a big-box bookseller (who shall remain nameless lest they receive any press from my enormously popular and world famous blog. Let me just say it rhymes with "hoarders" or should I say, "whore-ders" but I'm not bitter.) He loved his job, and was doing extremely well. Until, that is, he was unceremoniously "eliminated" in the fourth round of layoffs which had already cut his staff from 7 people to himself and 2 people. To cover 3 shifts at a distribution center.  Because of him getting laid off we got to move back to the South a year ago when he found a new job. So. Yay. Things work out. But I digress.

Just months after moving to Pennsylvania, we received a phone call as we were literally preparing for our first visit back home. The day before we were to leave we got the devastating news that Hubby's father had passed away. It was quite unexpected, and because of his business (farming), there was an enormous amount of... Well... Everything. To be sorted out. Equipment, possessions, land, homes, but also loans, debt and crops. While his 2 sisters lived in our hometown near his mom and assumed much more responsibility for assisting and supporting her in these tasks, hubby felt a certain responsibility to be here as much as possible.

We spent the next many months making many trips home, each of which was sadder than the first. I want to think we made somewhere close to 6 trips from PA to KY that year. Southwest loved us. So did long term parking at BWI. Each time we were home I would go visit his dad's grave, sometimes leaving flowers from my mom's beautiful garden. The death of my father-in-law sparked a lot of conversations between my parents and myself. Our parents were friends, and went to the same church. They always got along well, and my dad considered him to be a very good friend and confidant.

Now, I have certain opinions of what I want to happen when I am dead and gone. Cemeteries, caskets, funeral homes, I do not have any need for any of that. But when I would talk to my mom she always tried to impress upon me where she wanted to be, and how she wanted things done. One day I was kidding with her and I said, "Well, I hope you're gone by the time I die, because I don't want any of that. Just cremate me and spread the ashes to the wind!"

She. freaked. out. She couldn't believe she had raised a child to think it was OK to be cremated. "What will you do when you get to heaven????!" she asked of her agnostic daughter. I replied, as honestly as I could, "Mom, I seriously don't believe you'd want to be in heaven with this crappy old body. Arthritis and all broken down like you are? Really? I should think IF there's a heaven that you'd get something new anyway. And isn't it supposed to be about your soul? You know, leaving this earthly shell behind and all that?" I might not believe it myself, but I was raised in the church, I am no fool.

Her answer to me, true to her stubborn and controlling nature, was this. "I don't really care. I want what I want. I want my body buried in a good place and I would never let anyone cremate me." I had to laugh and jokingly say "Mom. Seriously. You'd be dead and gone, what would stop me really? You can't control that from beyond the grave." We went back and forth for a good long while, and I was seriously only joking with her, stirring the pot. Finally I said, "Well, if it is that big a deal, you'd better get the plans made now. Because once you're gone, it's all up to me. And who knows what I will do." Muwaaahaaahaa. I know I am mean. Teasing an old lady like that. I would never go against what she would have wanted done.

One day,  about 2 years later, I was in Giant. (like a Kroger to you Southerners) (actually, it is Kroger up there, because there is NO Kroger up there!! Can ya'll believe that?) I was shopping for groceries after being in class all day. I was exhausted and ready to get home when my cell rang. It was mom. The conversation covered all the usual things that she would update me on during our stay there. We usually talked on the phone once a week and she'd let me know about what was going on at church, who was dating whom, who had babies, or showers, or any family news. 

We talked about this and that the entire time I was in the store. It was late in the day and I was trying to wrap up the call after about 20 minutes. Which went something like this. 
Me: "Yes, mom, classes are going well." (olives, need olives)
Her: "Oh, so are you still keeping busy?
Me: "Yes, I really am, and I am tired and trying to get my shopping done so I can get home."(crap, all the way up here and I forgot cat food.)
Her: "Well, I won't keep you." 
Me: "OK, well, you guys take care now, and we'll talk soon." (half listening at this point, distracted by tabloids in the checkout line)
Her: "Oh, I also wanted to tell you that your aunt and uncle said hello and you need to see them next time you are home. And also your dad and I went and bought our cemetery plots and planned out our funerals, so that is all taken care of. Just thought I should tell you. We'll talk to you soon!"
Me: **dumbstruck** "WHAT????? What are you talking about?" (wheeling my cart out of the line)
Her: "Huh? What? What do you mean?"
Me: "YOU PLANNED YOUR FUNERAL?" (smiles at man in deli who is looking at me with fear in his eyes)
Her: "Oh, that, yes, we went and picked out our plots. We got a great spot in the corner right in the sun, and we're going to put a bench in and your brother is getting the plot right next to us too. And there are 2 plots either beside him or at the head of ours and you two can buy either of those and we'll all be there together. Well, I will let you go. I just wanted to tell you. Let me know if you want those plots though, they won't be there forever. Do you think you might want them?"
Me: (head in hands on cart) "I don't understand, is this a joke?"
Her: "No, if you don't want the plots that is fine, I was just offering."
Me: (thinking nothing is stranger than the thought of someone trying to control your child from beyond the grave) **sigh** "no, I mean, you seriously planned your funeral and everything? I mean, I think it is great really I do. I remember when we did it with grandma, but is there something I should know?"
Her: "Of course not, we are just being prepared and we want things a certain way and we thought this would be best. Our headstones will be placed in about 3 months, you'll have to come see them when they come in. They are being engraved."
Me: "HEADSTONES?! Are you kidding me? This is a joke, right?" **looking around for Allen Funt** or Ashton Kutcher**
Her: "What are you talking about?"
Me: "Do you mean to tell me you don't see anything creepy about that? I mean planning out what you want is one thing but having a headstone sitting there with your name on it, just waiting for you to die, that's just weird. and creepy. And all kinds of wrong."

It went on this way for a while. There I stood in the center aisle of the grocery store with a vision of my mom and dad, visiting their final resting place every day, and picturing me lying in the grave next to them. For all eternity. Honestly...


  1. Not creepy.

    Death doesn't freak me out like most people. It's sad, stak, sobering, but not scary.

    I lost my grandparents (who I was very close to) in Nov 2005 (Gram) and June 2006 (Paw paw). I live w and took care of Paw Paw the last six months of his life while I went through my divorce. In helping plan both funerals I realized that I wanted to be with them (and my parents) in the same cemetery. I thought a lot about it. At the time I didn't even want to think about another woman or family besides my Bug.

    Now that I have this bunch, Deana Bobina (who isn't creeped out by death, either) and I have made preliminary plans of what to do when we're gone.

    This is the most depressing blog comment ever.

    Did you hear the one about where the blonde walks into a bar naked holding a poodle in one arm and a salami in the other?

  2. We have very concrete plans with our wills... in a pretty little envelope on our bulletin board labeled aptly, "In case we're dead"

    Not creepy at all...