[This realization was brought home to me around November of 2014 when, looking back on the events it was like an unexpected water slide — helpless to change the course of my demise because, simply put, I didn’t really know what was happening or its significance as related to my final days on earth.]
My situation at that time: Now all alone, I had three burial locations from which to choose (Lucky me.): The family plot in Flushing, New York still had room left in it. Now contains my grandparents, mother, father, uncles Jack and Lester and brother Mort along with memorial inscriptions for cousins Stanley and Jerry (All included in my memoir). Since first visiting eighty years ago, Long Island’s jammed highways and a multitude of cemeteries now congest the Queen’s landscape and no longer allow what was once a rural environment of birds, small animals and trees. I often visualized the inhabitants must be buried standing up in order to have room for so many. Smog now obliterates the distant skyline of Manhattan. Yes, I would be with family members but I felt crowded just visiting. Foolish I know.
The second location was in New Jersey at the plot that now interred my two aunts, their spouses and Howard, cousin Renee’s departed husband. Recently I had placed a reserve order on two of the remaining sites. In this manner, after agreeing to grow old together, Renee and I, this would be the spot for us to take the eternal ride in each other’s company. Of course that wasn’t to be with Renee developing Alzheimer’s and her youngest son drowned in insatiable greed., I decided to transfer my reserved site at Renee’s family cemetery to the eldest son for, after all, his father and grandparents were buried there and with Renee in a nursing facility it was no longer feasible for me to keep it. As fate would have it within months of my transferring the plot to the eldest son he died at 68 of cancer.
So, my location of choice were the two plots, maintained by Lutherans no less, that I had bought in an untrammeled landscape on the mainland opposite my last home in Washington state, Camano Island. Vera had wished that, despite our divorce, she still wanted to be buried here, the spot we had both picked out. Instead her nieces decided to cremate their mother, Mary, aunt Grace and Vera together in an unofficial Cree ceremony of their own making. They then pocketed the proceeds of her insurance and half of what we collected in 52 years of wandering. So now I have an empty space next to mine in an untrodden countryside ─ with mountains looming behind my head and the Pacific Ocean at my feet. Oh yes, the stars I sorely missed. Since moving to Florida, the moon, an occasional planet and maybe Orion, just after a thunder storm had scoured the sky clear enough of humidity, were all I could see of God’s heavens. Silly perhaps but the day’s scenery and the night’s blanket of billions of stars would be mine to cherish as God’s gift to me.
The dilemma: with a military funeral and, hopefully, a “missing plane” flyby overhead, I would feel silly dressed in an evening gown. After all I wouldn’t be around to explain my antics to the Veterans Administration doctors or the funeral home in Washington receiving my remains. Just accepting the fact, sadly, that there are still too many lacking knowledge and acceptance of the TG community.
Okay, here I am a few months from 91 with my annual VA medical check-ups still indicating no obvious symptoms of impending demise and an apartment full of mostly female clothes. What to do? If I ditch everything now I could look forward to months or years feeling miserable and frustrated that I can no longer be Julie having my hair or nails done, shopping at department stores for lingerie or mingling at the supermarket. With my brother and cousins all passed, this past year has been mine to do what I knowingly or subconsciously wished for. Do I dump everything now or hope that I will be blessed with a heads-up warning from my Maker? Sounds familiar? Further thoughts on my personal dilemma in post 73.
Continued with Post 70