Ostara and the Moon of Mourning
Friday gratefuls: Kate smelling coffee in the morning. Kate admiring the canals of Venice. Kate, treating me for pneumonia in Vienna. Those Andean pipe players underneath our balcony while I recovered. Death certificates. Kate’s ashes. Joe. Seoah.
Sparks of Joy: Group hug with Joe and Seoah after I put Kate’s ashes in the Bresnahan jar.
Joe and I went over to the Evergreen Mortuary around 9 am yesterday. It’s a funky place, Western. Exposed log beams, logging chains hung on the wall. A Goose, stuffed, coming from a rafter. Pictures of Bison on the walls and two poems: Resurrection and Ol’ Mountain Man on scrolls.
We decided to pick up Kate’s ashes whether the death certificates were there or not. They were not. I got a gift-sized paper bag with handles, a plastic box inside. Heavy. White label on the outside with Kate’s name. Joe offered to carry her, but I said no.
Back home I took out the Bresnahan jar, set it on the art cart. Joe and I puzzled a minute over how to open the box. Inside was a plastic bag with a tie and Kate’s “cremains.” An ugly word, but one funeral home folks seem wedded to. I placed the bag, without opening it, into the jar. It fit easily.
Lid back on I took it over to the walnut shelf, placed it there with the ripped shirt from shiva, her 75th year tiara, those signature red glasses, a small wooden hand with fingers in a fig position (as Kate’s commonly were), a notebook of hers, and her passport.
Seoah suggested wine and chocolates. Later on I added a glass of wine. Chocolates will attract mice, but maybe something later.
All of this is within easy sight from my computer in the loft. I got the idea for the shrine from Jimmy Johnson’s that he put together for Micky’s sister. The ritual of creating the shrine and placing Kate’s ashes there drains them of their power to scare me, to cause me anguish. Why? Not fully sure, but it’s about honoring her, about not hiding the ashes, about acknowledging my need to be with her. Still.
May seem macabre, but it doesn’t feel that way. Instead it felt right. Like what I needed to do.
Death certificates. RJ Devick, on a call to set up the transfer of the IRA to my name, said, “In my 28 years of doing this I’ve never seen anything like this.” Well. I shook my head, seems consistent with the last two plus years.
Kate was in hospital hospice for less than twenty-four hours. Her care transferred then from Swedish Hospital to Denver Hospice. When it came time to sign the death certificate, the doctor the Evergreen Mortuary contacted said she had not been caring for Kate at the time of her death and could not testify to cause of death. The Hospice never handles death certificates for deaths that occur in hospital.
Didn’t know this until yesterday when we went to the mortuary. Joe and I got on the phone. I got a call yesterday afternoon that the death certificate would be signed by a New West doc, Jason Nyguen. Should have them soon.
If you’ve not had a death close to you, you won’t be aware of the many, many details, important details, that require a death certificate. Stopping social security. Stopping medication shipments. Changing titles to the house, the car.
And, most immediately important for me, switching the IRA into my name. Right now, with Kate’s death, no money can come out of the IRA to my bank account until the transfer to my name occurs. That can’t happen without the death certificate. It’s now two and a half weeks plus after her death. I have plenty of cash on hand, but if this had been drawn out, it could have been a problem.
Joe and I go to see Dr. Eigner today, my oncologist. We’ll find out what happens next after my up PSA. Really wanted Joe to understand so he won’t worry. And, yes, of course I want to know too, so I won’t worry.
The two of them leave for Hawai’i tomorrow morning at 8 am. Raeone (ex-wife) and James arrive the same day for a week. I’ll have two weeks to adjust to life with the dogs here on Shadow Mountain, clean up as many extraneous details as I can. Hopefully all of them. Then I’m getting on a jet plane. Mary, my sister, will arrive a couple of days before me.