When I was studying interior space planning for commercial applications, we were given a funeral parlor to redesign. It was a local business, and looked more like a pizza parlor than anything else to me. The walls had walnut formica paneling halfway up. The top part was a blue and green floral print wallpaper. Heavy drapes closed the windows off for privacy. When I went into measure the two viewing rooms, I realized I was not alone.
You have to forgive me – I was in my early twenties and I was not raised Catholic. But the bodies gave me a sense of purpose and drama. I decided to embellish on the theatrics. I drew up a stage on the diagonal. I thought about the kind of stage lights that give off a cloudy haziness. I wanted the body to be the focal point. I wanted 4 different colored upholstered light weight chairs that could be moved around to form spontaneous conversation groups. I was thinking sorbet colors – soft blueberry, raspberry, peach, and mango. I wanted soft peach or blueberry carpeting. I thought the viewing could serve as the transitionary send off. I wanted to allude to a heaven that I desperately wanted to believe in.
I think about my tiny house. When I was in my forties, I could still dream of winning money and having my house moved to the Hamptons and plopped down where it truly belongs. But those were dreams and when you are sixty you don’t have any dreams. Even my house might go the way of the wrecking ball. The perennial garden that I had planted with my own bare hands will get excavated as this small cottage will be taken down and a new two family investment home will go up in its stead. I am not particularly sad when I realize this. I am not shocked. It would make sense financially.
I just can’t wrap my head around how quickly the time went by.
Remember that baseball movie Field of Dreams and the really sentimental “deep”one liner:“If you build it, they will come?”I am telling you: IF YOU BUILT IT, THEY WILL SELL IT!!!!!
Now, I will not lie.I am vain. But surely, you have figured that out, because it takes a certain amount of vanity to blog.
I used to imagine that what we had tried but had not accomplished in our life, would get accomplished in our death.I imagined our children – my one and my husband’s three – would come back to our house after “the funerals” and would stay and go through our stuff and talk and connect and find out who we really were by going through our stuff.I imagined “the girls” fingering my jewelry and dividing it up.I imagined them choosing which paintings and photographs they would take back with them and keep.I imagined “the boys” going through my husband’s sports collectibles and equipment and dividing them up.I imagined them sharing the photographs and swapping stories.
We are Jewish and we sit shiva for seven days.Surely that would allow enough time for all this bonding that never took place during our living years, to take place.
Then I remembered that my step children are not Jewish.They live far away.They have their own children and their own lives and they work.
So the question is:Do we do the children a favor and start getting rid of the excesses and NOT replace the stuff that we sell or give away or throw away?Or do we burden them by making them go through decades of our lives?