Crying “Mercy!”

(I was almost going to call this "Crying 'Uncle!'", but considering the subject matter? Em…no!)

Just as a fun little sidebar: when I was younger, a neighbor got hold of me and…oh, was probably tickling me to death (this in the age before everything was assault or sexual harassment, mind you) and I kept crying, "Mercy! Mercy!"

Finally, he said, "Don't you mean 'Uncle'?"

Smartass as I was, I probably responded, "Uncle Mercy!" (*giggle*)

Having worked at a funeral home (and having a father still employed at the same), I'm well aware that an average of two hundred clients (as I call them) "take advantage" of funeral services each year. (That's approximately 16.6 [everlasting] clients per month, for those of you who are counting.) And that doesn't count the extra time spent doing pre-planning, getting involved in the community, lending out the funeral assistants to other homes (PFH has an exchange agreement with another home in the area), running death certificates and everything else. Whew!

That being said, how do I get so unlucky that I get five people that I know passing in five months?!

Sweet mother Goddess. (*headdesk*)

The first was my Great-Great Aunt Grace (maternal grandmother's aunt-by-marriage)…she was ninety-something and her heart gave out. Given that she'd had a heart attack right before Christmas, it wasn't very much of a surprise; but Grace had also become integrated into my family even more in the last five or six years after being moved to an assisted living facility outside of town. (In fact, I occasionally got, "Why don't you visit me more often?", but I hardly ever get into Charlotte…) I didn't go to her service because it was at stupid o'clock and I'd been having headaches and…ugh.

The second was Marcia, who was office manager at the funeral home. She'd had liver cancer a while back, it went into remission and then I guess it came back during the winter. I went to that one because it was in the afternoon and on a weekend, besides.


This is a good time to stop and throw in another sidebar…

I worked at a shoe store briefly and I happened to mention that the home was going to have a going away (from the office) party before Marcia really went away and my boss got creeped out when I told her that Marcia was the second employee the home had lost in a decade. (Technically the third, but I'd forgotten about Tom and he'd retired before passing, anyway.)

"I've been here [eight years] and I've never lost anyone!"

"Jackie was a smoker and had lung cancer. Marcia had liver cancer." Tom, who I'd forgotten about, had heart problems.

And the former boss that "hadn't lost anyone"? None of her employees were over the age of fifty, either! (The youngest employee at the funeral home is thirty. Does that tell you anything?)


Then there was Monte, who had started on the Vermontville fire department when my grandfather was chief…and I have a feeling I've mentioned him before. ("First and only ride on a fire truck" ring a bell?) I didn’t go to his service because I had that testing at Michigan Works.

A couple of weeks ago, it was my (somewhat distant) cousin Dorothy, who was…probably in her eighties. I don't know what the specific health problem was that took her down (there's no such thing as "dying of old age", after all), but her service is at a later date, at her house. (I probably won't go, as I didn't go to her husband's service.)

Last night was Dick, a former neighbor. My parents built the house across the road from him and his wife, so we've known Dick and Shirley forever. I remember when they dug the pond, when their daughter Sherrill used to babysit me…and on, and on. Really, I'm surprised I'm not crying (and haven't cried). Perhaps if we hadn't lost touch with the family for the better part of twenty years, it would be different. Of course, at this point, I'm more concerned about Sherrill–as I probably should be.

Dick had pulmonary fibrosis for a number of years, so Sherrill warned me last fall that he might not last long. I saw an ambulance headed for Lansing on Wednesday and ran to text Sherrill right away. She told me then that he was in such shape that her ex-husband had come to get her at work–something not done lightly. I'm sure. (Then again, Wade has custody of their son for most of the week.) Sherrill initially said that Dick wanted to see if they could throw together a sort of mass open house so he could see all his grandkids graduate; but I'm guessing they decided they didn't have enough time for that, because yesterday afternoon, she sent me a text that said Sparrow was releasing him so he could go home and be comfortable. He passed sometime after ten. (The timestamp on the text said 10:48, but there could have been any length of crying before she texted me.)

As if that wasn't bad enough, I heard from my mother (the one who never calls) earlier this afternoon (I've taken several hours to write this), who said that my grandmother had somehow broken her hip two weeks ago and was being transferred from Hayes Green Beach to Sparrow as we spoke.

Of course, my mother has also recently hurt herself. Sometime last fall–August, maybe–she fell down the stairs at work and sprained(?) her ankle. Then she tells me that she had a 10a appointment in Blissfield the other day (when it was raining) and she went into McDonald's ahead of time. The floor was wet and they didn't mark it, so she fell and has a hairline fracture in that same ankle.

And I was in the ER early Friday morning with the same bug I caught fourteen months ago. Bad enough to be "so nauseous I couldn't sleep" again, but not enough to need two bags of fluid and three different anti-emetics again.


Are we done yet? 'cause I really want to be done. *headdesk*

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