Unfortunately, our family has frequent flyer miles at a particular funeral home. We all hope that it will be a while until we need these services again.
ULOB was buried on Friday. Yesterday, I received a call on my cell phone from an unrecognizable phone number. Usually, this is not a good sign.
It was Frank, the man who assisted us in the recent burials of AROB and ULOB.
SIDEBAR: Uh oh, I thought. And, then, I thought, is the Grim Reaper REALLY “phoning it in”?
Frank called to make sure that we were happy with the funeral home’s services. He also wanted me to know that he was dropping a customer satisfaction survey in the mail to me and that he is available when we were ready to deal with the headstones and any other internment needs. Really?
I know, you are all thinking of the personal relationship I have with MiniStorage (see http://40andoverblog.com/?p=5153 and http://40andoverblog.com/?p=5168). Well, there is another relationship I didn’t mention…..
With Disaster Masters. When it looked like ULOB might be able to get out of the hospital and want to go home, SOB and I met with a consultant who prepares homes of elderly people for assisted care. He has a whole shtick, he visits the house, takes pictures, gives an assessment, and tells you what he can do and what he can’t do.
“‘Clean’ is a bad word. This place will never be clean. You see that yellow on the ceiling? That’s from 60 years of smoking. We are going to try to make this place habitable. Let me state even more narrowly: habitable so the home health attendant doesn’t do the ‘I quit dance’!!!”
And then Mr. Disaster Master demonstrated — spinning around with hands flailing in the air.
ULOB was off the respirator and possibly leaving ICU and I was so scared that he would be discharged before we had time to sanitize the place. Mr. Disaster Master wasn’t in a rush — probably because he has seen this before so many times. At first he only wanted to speak to me because I had power of attorney, but when I wanted him to make the place habitable whether or not ULOB ever came home, he only wanted to speak to SOB, because as a doctor, she understood the vagaries of life and post-trauma health.
I congratulated him on figuring out who was going to be his ally. And I told him that, nevertheless, I wanted a plan after the weekend (I had given him a downpayment).
I sent him a reminder email over that weekend, to which he responded:
I need to learn how [ULOB] is doing physically and mentally. These issues often change people. Can he do the stairs after this trauma? The PT and OT people should be TOLD that he lives in a tall 4 flight walkup when he gets into rehab. These places generally only give one hour a day and ½ of that is billing time. We want to assure that he is well up to speed. If not, then we may be looking at a downsizing move for him. When I understand exactly what the deliverable is I will then be able to provide the right solution. Till then we just play the what-if game and that is a waste of time for all of us.
Best, [Mr. Disaster Master]”
This guy sounds like an infomercial spokeman but, whoa, he could read a situation.
- Anxious nieces.
- A disgusting home.
- A dying uncle who would, assuming that he survived the hospital stay, would surely die if he couldn’t go home to his disgusting home.
He knew so much about us — SOB, ULOB and me — in that hour that we were in ULOB’s apartment that it was eerie.
I really believe that he knew that ULOB could never go home again and he didn’t want to prey upon my willingness to throw money at the situation on the off-chance that ULOB pulled out a miracle. It was frustrating in the beginning to feel that he wasn’t in a hurry, but he said it was because he knew his business. And I believe that. And he just didn’t think that his services would be needed after all.
Ron Alford (email@example.com) is the one to call when needs like these arise.
He is a good man in rough city who helps people during heart-wrenching times.