Good Morning Ted and Jody:
I got a call from, Peter, my brother-in-law yesterday. He is holding a memorial for Ronda, my late sister, on the 8th of October. You will recall he called with the news of her death on my birthday when we were sitting around the dining room table talking back in June. What he has planned is a boat trip up the Columbia close to Multnomah Falls, a spot where Ronda used to take McKenzie and her friends camping; and she dubbed that segment of the Columbia River, Lake Ronda. Then back to the club where the boat is “docked” (is that what they call it when a boat is parked?). Where he is catering a luncheon for her friends; and, as he puts it, everyone will get up and tell stories about Ronda.
The reason for the time laps between the memorial and Ronda’s death is, according to Peter, that Ronda had donated her brain for research at the Oregon Hospital and State University. Her thinking was that given her behavior and mental states, if there was some way to correlate what was going on with the architecture of her brain and her behavior and mental states it might help someone else to avoid the pain she lived with. It apparently too this long for the folks at OHSU to finish their work. I do hope I can see the report they gave Peter.
Mom and Dad started the one generation old tradition of cremation and spreading ashes in the family; so, I guess Ronda having it done makes it a two generation tradition. I remember the day Ronda, Mom and I went to the funeral home to pick up Dad’s ashes. When shown the size of the package and confronted with the price of container, Ronda and I turned to each other and said, “We should have brought a 3-pound coffee can.” Then Mom laughed and said, “Maxwell House, he always insisted on Maxwell House.” I should have thought the funereal home workers would have been used to gallows humor, but they looked up disapprovingly. I suspect they thought they were going to lose an urn sale. Dad stayed in that urn (actually a very nice wooden box) for about three hours before we took him to Cape Arago Stater Park and cast him on the waters. His stated preference for “disposal,” as he put it, of his “leftovers.” (The statute of limitations has, I hope, run out). For several years after that, Mom used to go out to the park and watch the ocean. She swore a whale swam by every time she was watching. Then when Mom died, we, at her behest, took her to the same spot where we spread Dad’s ashes and spread her ashes.
I’m not sure that I will carry on the family tradition. I don’t know what my last wishes are, yet. But then, I haven’t been told what I want.
Warmest regards, Ed