March 31, 2020
I sit here on my porch for some unknown period of time. Victor. Victor is dead? But he was the picture of health. Okay, he did have a couple of issues like diabetes, but he was so vital. So full of energy—and he was younger than me! Oh, I know these things are not guaranteed to us. Death comes upon us “as a thief and we will not know what hour . . .” or something like that. I think it’s in the Bible.
Now what? A funeral, of course. Who will organize it? Funeral home. Which one? That decision should be made by Victor’s next of kin. Who is his next of kin? His first wife is long dead, and his only son, too. His second wife—it can’t possibly be her since they divorced years ago with much hatred and finality. Megan? She’s his daughter-in-law. No actual kin. Sukey? She’s his twin, but they hardly ever saw each other. Weird as is sounds, I think Sukey might be his next of kin.
The hospital will know how to handle it. They have procedures. The only thing I know for sure is that it isn’t my job. Thank heavens. But it seems like I should do something. I call Marian back.
She answers on the first ring. “I know what you mean,” she says after I tell her my thoughts. “But how can they have a funeral? With the restrictions and all? No large congregations, stay ten feet apart, don’t shake hands . . . it’s impossible!”
“The funeral homes have already dealt with this, I’m sure. Whoever has his body will know what to do.” As I said it, I wondered how the hospital would know whom to call. At length, Marian and I agree to call Sukey and Megan and offer our condolences. They would tell us what’s happening.
I call Megan. She hasn’t even heard the news. She cries and says something like if Sukey knows and she hasn’t told me, I swear I’ll . . . I end the call before Megan says something she’ll regret and I’ll want to forget.
I see Marian outside. She’s heading for my front door so I push myself up and head that way to let her in. She brushes past me, violating the ten-foot rule and I lead her back to the porch where we can sit comfortably, as far apart as necessary. Out of habit, I offer her something to drink. Out of an abundance of caution, she declines.
Sukey, Marian has learned, is next-of-kin and will be handling arrangements through the funeral home everyone in our neighborhood uses. She has a copy of the Advance Directive the hospital has used in determining Victor’s wishes. She has talked to his lawyers. They have his will and are handling all the financial stuff.
Marian is certain Victor’s will is in order, all i’s dotted and all t’s crossed. It is bound to involve big bucks and Marian hopes the lawyers will do the right things.
I feel my eyes starting to glaze over as Marian launches into one of her endless stories about Victor and his money.