Saturday, June 5, 2010

Beginning to heal....

It was a beautiful day in Rose Hills yesterday. In case you are unaware, Rose Hills is a cemetery. It's the cemetery where my dad, my brother Mike, the twin babies that my parents had and now my mom are all buried at. We gathered under a canopy and said goodbye for one last time. It was a very small, intimate crowd. Just my family, my brother Danny's family and a handful of my mom's very closest friends that wanted to be there to witness it.
I had been stressing about it all week. I knew it was coming, but I didn't want it to. I had to pick a box. A box to put my mother's remains in. That? is not a fun job. So of course in keeping with the theme of my grieving thus far I decided a little more retail therapy was in order. First I went to Kirkland's, I purchased a satin box with the letter S embroidered on top. It was pretty, I just wasn't sure if it was going to be big enough. So then I thought 'hmm, well I guess I could separate her ashes and leave some with me. (that was a really, really bad idea, I mean who in the world was going to actually "separate" them, certainly not me) but at the time, I thought it was genius! So I purchased three smaller more traditional urn type things, they came in a set of 3 so I had to buy all of them even though I would only use one. Anyway, a day after I made the original purchase my mom's girlfriend called me to tell me that she had been to Home Goods that day and they had some really pretty boxes that I might like better. Well guess what? that just means I get to shop more... and really nothing makes me feel closer to my mom than shopping, especially at a home store. So I went to Home Goods on my lunch break, this means I had approximately 30 minutes to find a box that would hold my mother's remains for all of eternity... no pressure. While I box shopped I also talked on the phone to one of her girlfriends, multitasking of course. There were many boxes to choose from but none seemed exactly perfect. I then decided maybe this needed more of my attention and hung up the phone. I wandered around the store and headed back towards the office section, not to find a box but to buy a large wooden S that I had seen there the week before. The S was for Sally, I wanted to put it our guest house that my mom lived in, to show that she still belonged there. Anyway I saw the S and grabbed it. And guess what, right there next to that S was a beautiful green (her favorite color) silk box with beads all over it. It was there, all by itself totally not where it belonged, but just sitting by the S. It was as though she put it there. I think she did.
Earlier that morning Chris had called me to tell me that he would be able to go pick my mom up at the crematory place. The guy had called and said she was ready. It was a job I did not want, something I had been putting off. I was so glad he would do it. He called me when he had her and I could hear the tears in his voice and the sadness in his heart. I knew it was hard for him too but he did it anyway, because he loves me.
What a good guy. When I got home that day after work the box was sitting on the kitchen island. I walked very slowly over to it. It was just an ordinary cardboard box, but on top it said "This box contains the remains of Sally Sabella". Well that was all I needed. I went into full on nervous breakdown mode. I cried and screamed and cried some more. It was the most painful part of this whole thing so far. To think that all she was, is now in this little box broke my heart. I mean I know that she's not in there, that her soul, her spirit is in heaven but to think that it was really, truly over was more than I could handle. I took the box and I went out to her room. I set the box on the coffee table and just cried some more. I talked to her and apologized a million times, I don't even know what for, I just felt so, so bad. I eventually just lay down on the couch and fell asleep, absolutely exhausted.
The next morning we packed up the car, with all of our stuff. We put my mom's remains her new pretty satin box and we set off to say goodbye. When we got there everyone was already there waiting for us. They were all so sweet. Her friends have been so unbelievably good to me. It's like I have 6 moms now. They love me, reassure me and comfort me. Once I was there I was okay. I had people around me that loved me, people that were also grieving and missing my mom. We have a common bond and that helps me. The hardest part for me is seeing the kids, my girls and my niece and my nephew, these children who no longer have their grandparents. These children who will have to rely on us to share our stories and memories so that they can get to know their grandpa and to remember their grandma.
We said goodbye and then headed to visited a dear, sweet relative. My dad's cousin. She is an amazing lady and we really enjoyed our time with her. She took us to dinner and we talked and even cried a little.
We were going to go home after that but I just wasn't ready. So at the very last minute we decided to head to this awesome little boutique hotel that we had seen last summer in Hermosa Beach. Oh my gosh it was fabulous. It was just what we needed. Quality time, just the 4 of us. No phones ringing. No remains to pick up, no plans to make. Just us. We walked on the Strand and we took pictures. We just had a good time. I don't even think I cried once.
I am so glad that all of the planning and decision making is behind me now. I really do feel like I can begin to heal. I will always, always miss my mom. I miss her so much that it hurts. But I have been through this many times and I know that soon the hurt will lessen and I will be ok.


  1. Oh, this was a wonderful post - I loved hearing about Home Goods and the box that was waiting for you right next to Sally's S: I agree, it was waiting for you. And I got chills. And to hear about Chris and what he did too, it is really wonderful Nina, Kristin xo

  2. On a different note, could you please teach me how to do a photo collage like that sometime? I really want to be able to post a group of pictures in one shot like you have above . . ..


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