Friday, January 22, 2010

In which I am a little freaked out by the casualness of a dying man

I don't make a lot of pre-arrangements here at work.  Not that they aren't common, they are, but we have a pre-need guy on staff that does a lot of them, and I tend to be busy making arrangements or working services for people that have already died, so the pre-arrangements that I do tend to be few and far-between.  It's always nice to do them, though, as I get paid comission on top of being on the clock, but anyway, I need to get to my story.

Yesterday I was getting a case ready for viewing (he was already in the casket, I was just adjusting his make-up) and Tank came in to let me know that there was a walk-in pre-arrangement that he wanted me to take.  I said I'd be there in a minute and asked him to take the gentleman to an arrangement office.  So, I go in to meet this guy and introduce myself, and I notice that he is fairly young for pre-arranging, probably about 45 or so, and I start talking to him about what it is that he wants to do (burial or cremation, pre-paid or not, where his ashes are going, etc) and he tells me that he wants to do everything (sign all his own cremation forms, pre-pay).  So, I am asking him if he wants to pay it all at once or make payments over time (since for someone of his age making payments can work out to be actually cheaper than paying it all at once), and this is what he says: Well, I am checking into the hospital in February and don't plan on coming out, so I think I'd just like to pay you all of it at once if it's okay.  Needless to say, I was a bit speechless.  So, I fumble over a few words and get (somewhat) back to business, but I couldn't help myself, I had to ask him: Why are you dying? HONESTLY FOLKS, I CANNOT BELIEVE I SAID IT.  Wtf? Why are you dying???? Why did I say that??? So, immediately I say: I'm sorry, that was really personal.  But he smiles and tells me that he has leukemia.  It's the worst kind, and chemo is needed for the brain cancer that he now has, and it's just poison so, he is ready to die come February.  He told me that he has a daughter, she isn't yet 18, and that he just doesn't want her to have to deal with any of it.  So, I asked him questions about dying, and he told me that everyone dies, and laughed a little even at the oddness of telling a mortician that everyone dies.  I have to admit, it was quite ironic.  He told me that he was ready to die, and that he just wished he would be around to see his daughter turn 18.

So, he left, and I keep thinking about him.  I want to visit him in the hospital, which is strange.  I am freaked out that he was sitting there with me, chatting about dying and stuff, and in a few months he's gonna be in a box in the refrigerator in the back. Dead.

6 comments:

IT said...

Sounds to me like he's got a pretty good handle on it. I mean he appears to only be regretting that there are some things he's going to miss.

Miss Anne said...

My heart goes out to you and that fellow. It sounds like he is very aware and prepared. (well as much as one person can be)

May his journey be as painless and peaceful as possible.

Miss Anne said...

*sidenote* unrelated to this post*

saw your love for Ms.Gaga on my blog and that you own the new cd. wanna do a little trade? you burn me a copy and i'll send you some gifties?

:) lemme know!

Doll Face said...

YES!!! Email me your address, I can send it today!

dollface@fluidpusher.com

thecheckoutgirl said...

life is weird.

MattOnFire said...

Wow.