Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I will follow you into the dark

I got a call back in February from a pastor in a town not far from the city I live in asking for prices on a cremation, and asking for some details on how the whole process works. She told me that she was calling on behalf of one of the members of her church whose partner was being put on hospice care, dying of cancer. I gave her prices and some information, and asked her if I could be a bit nosy, and she told me yes, so I asked a bit about the “partnership” and what she meant by that. She told me that the women had been together for years (like 30 or more) and that they (obviously) weren’t married, but that they were each other’s legal next-of-kin, and also gave me cute little details about their relationship. So, I explained that I would need a copy of the documentation of that (which is odd, married couples don’t have to bring in their proof of marriage to show that they are, in fact, the legal next-of-kin), and that I could email all the forms to her to sign and fax back to me, and she said that would be great.

The forms were all sent back to me the next day, and we have kept them on file so that when the woman dies we will have everything we need. I didn’t end up talking with the partner making the arrangements ever, just the pastor, who was very kind.

The woman died yesterday. Big Bird gave me the file so that I could call the partner and touch base with her and make sure that the way everything had been set up back in February was the way it should be. She was very soft spoken, and quite calm, and I immediately liked her. I asked her if she had any questions about anything and she didn’t, and we went over some of the information I had in the file, and a couple of times she got a bit choked up, and I could hear the strain in her voice, trying not to cry.

I felt so badly for her, like I was feeling just a small part of the heartache she was feeling. I never feel like I want to hug people I make arrangements for (well, almost never), and I just wanted to hug her. I wanted to tell her that it’s okay to cry, and that I’m so sorry she lost the woman she has loved for most of her life. But I couldn’t, and she isn’t going to ever meet me, as the cremated remains are being shipped to her when the cremation is complete, and I’m disappointed. So, I wrote her a letter:

Dear *lady*
I want to express my condolences on the loss of your love. I know it might seem insincere to receive a letter like this from a funeral home employee, but I am truly sorry for her death, and I wanted to let you know that you have been in my thoughts today. I cannot begin to imagine the hurt that you are feeling, and I hope that you understand that it is okay to feel that way, and it’s also okay to not try to unfeel it.
It was nice to talk with you over the phone, and I hope that if there is anything you need that I can help you with (grief support groups in your area, counselor recommendations, etc.) you will let me know, it would be an honor for me to do that.

I’m a bit nervous to send it though.

It’s funny, here this woman has lost her partner, and I can’t help but think she’s the luckiest woman on earth. How many people die without that kind of love? Far too many, I would guess.

Click here to hear the song this post is titled after.


Miss Anne said...

This made me well up.
Send it with a peace in your heart knowing you are doing a kind deed upon someone who may just need those words.

You're a good woman my friend.

Doll Face said...

You're always so encouraging and kind to me, Miss Anne.

And, for the record, I bawled like a baby today.

IT said...

Yeah, I took a minute for my eyes to clear, too.

It's really cool when you come down off your high heels to mess around with the rest of us.

Amanda said...

This is a really beautiful, heartfelt letter. I'm sure this lady would be very happy to receive it and know that someone was thinking of her.

And, you're right, she's lucky to have shared such a special love.

Doll Face said...

IT- maybe it was just your cataracts.

Amanda- you're adorable, thanks for the nice comment.

homeslice said...

i love your letter. send it. and i've said before - i should be so lucky as to die and have you care for me and my friends/family.

Doll Face said...

Homeslice- I don't think you know how sweet I think you are.

(Like super-sweet, fyi)