After a long day of trying to sell the house, a hardy face-to-face discussion with Mr. Ex about some of our divorce logistics, and the usual end of the weekend busyness, I sat down to write.
I was going to blog about how surprises lurk around every corner, how life is a mystery, and the gifts that can come out of uncertainty, when the phone rang.
My father, who I assumed was calling to see how I was doing during my life change, says, “I just have a quick question I have been meaning to ask you for months.” He went on to ask me when he dies, if I would mind if he had his body donated to a university anatomical education program.
OH. Never saw that one coming. The man is healthy. Talk about a surprise.
He quickly went on to explain that they will retrieve his remains, use the body for teaching purposes, cremate it, file the death certificate, place the obituary in the paper, and pay for everything including the funeral service. Essentially no cost to the family? No objections here.
As if that wasn’t enough, he told me before he decided to do this service to mankind, he had already bought a drawer in the local cemetery mausoleum so we could just put his urn of educational ashes in the drawer.
REALLY? This is how my day ended today?
My father and I have had a very interesting relationship since my birth. He was not at the top of my favorite people list as I was growing up, we never seemed to see eye to eye on much of anything, and I was the child of an unhappy marriage (familiar theme.)
When I moved out I didn’t have much contact with him and it wasn’t until years later, when he insinuated his way back into my life after I had my own children, that I grew to love him in a mature father-daughter relationship way. We ended up being much more alike than I ever realized, and we share similar perspectives on many things. This helped form a better bond than I had with him growing up and we now have a lovely, respectful understanding of each other.
I suppose that’s what happens as you age anyway, you either make the most of your familial relationships or you simply accept them and find peace. No point in staying latched on to negative childhood memories, at some point you have to grow up and let go.
Not a bad philosophy in general actually–not staying latched on to negativity and letting go. Why live with suffering when there is an alternative? I wish I had learned that earlier in life, things may have gone differently with a lot of things.
My father has opted to offer himself to others to ease suffering, a choice he has made during life, and will continue to even with his passing. J.K. Rowling said, “It is our choices, far more than our abilities that show who we really are.” I tend to agree with that, even when I’m taken by surprise.