I started the week off by attending the funeral of my aunt and I attended a funeral on Saturday for a18 month old little girl. I don't like funerals all that much...I go and pay my respects but I feel like they are a waste of money...they really are not for the dead but for the living. I have said for many years even before all this talk of a heart transplant came to the front burner that I had certain things that I wanted to have done after I die(but to quote Monty Python's Spamalot song...I'm not dead yet, no I am not dead yet) I know having a wife and son who are Jewish cause a lot of questions as to what will happen when I die(but again I am not dead yet, no I'm not dead yet)
Let me state for the record, I am Catholic, I still when I get the chance go to church!! However since getting sick the last 6 months or so I had to make some choices...you see for the longest time I would attend services with my wife and son one day and then go to mass another day. When I started getting tired I prayed to see what I should do..And I felt in my heart(soul not he 3 chamber thing I am living with) that I would like to go to services. I am not turning my back on my faith but I feel that I would like to spend time with my family. When my son decided(and he decided on his own to be Jewish) I felt it was my duty as his father to assure that he became as grounded in his faith as I am in mine.
Ok I am rambling off topic a bit...back to the discussion at hand. I wanted to donate my body to science and then have a big party as a memorial...I wanted people to eat and drink...I have a lot of friends who are not Catholic or Jewish.....The fact is I have friends of many faiths. Again I think funerals are way to expensive and I would prefer that the little insurance money that I do have would go to Sharon and Evan to help them.
My mother stated that she wanted me to have a mass of Christian Burial....I did not think about it that much because I am donating my body and there will be no body to bury....thus the memorial service/party would be a great idea.
My mother mentioned that I should write down what I want so everyone know....this was never a thought or concern for me...why you ask Because Sharon and I will have been together for 26 years come this Feb. We will be married for 23 years in June...she is my best friend and she has a great stake in my health.....she understood from the time she met me that our time together could be long or short.....she understands what I have dealt with as far as my heart goes...No she was not there for the first 2 surgeries when I was 10 months old and 14 years old.....but she has been by my side since my last one at age 20 in 1984. I trust her to make the decisions that I have made regarding my care and my final wishes!!! I do not mean by saying this that I am putting my family off to the side...in fact I am thinking of every one's feelings when I am gone(but I'm not dead yet, no I'm not dead yet) If you think about it Sharon and I have been together over half of my life. We have stood arm in arm against many of odds....just a few that happened when we were first dating....the death of her mother...which anyone who has ever lost a parent at a young age knows is very hard to overcome...we also had my last major heart surgery...again a tough place to be for the person having the surgery..let alone for a couple of teenager's at the beginning of their relationship.....we over came that hurt and anxiety we felt when we were told that we could not have children after many years of trying....we hugged each other tight the day that Evan was born...we stood beside each other as we took Evan back and forth to various therapies when he was younger...we struggled together as to whether or not to ever have Evan tested to find out what his issue and diagnosis really was.....we did not want the schools or anyone to put limits on him and tell him that he could not do things.....we cried the day we found out that he had Autism.....we stood strong beside each other as we fought weekly with the school to make sure that his educational needs got met. You see we are a team of 2 we are each others strongest supporters and cheer leaders.....Sharon always ask me my opinion or what I think before she does anything including her decision to become Jewish...Just like she supported me and helped me when I went to Grad school....Some people asked me why I would let her do something like that to our family......Well my answer is simple.....I have no right to tell her what to do let alone what to believe...I felt that she was searching and her journey took her to different place then being Catholic....but it is not like I could just cast her aside(a wife is like and old pair of shoes...the stiff and hard when new but become very comfortable as you wear them) She did not say to me "I am Jewish and I love you less" No She said she loved me more because I understood what made her happy and that it was filling a void in her life....You see being married and together for so long makes one in tune with those things...she has never forced me to go to services or to convert...( she may joke about it) but since we have been together for so long and we are a team she knows that my faith is my faith...and that I do not love her or Evan less because of their faith!!! In plain words and I will capitalize them as if to shout so everyone understands:
WE TOOK VOWS...FOR BETTER OR WORSE...FOR RICHER OR POOER...IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH AND GIVING OURSELVES TO EACH OTHER UNTIL DEATH DO US PART!!!
So after all that my wife know what I want:
A mass of Christian burial if that is possible since my body is being donated...If not a memorial mass.....My body will be returned to her at a later date...it is cremated by the lab...she will have control over my ashes.....and when she dies I will be buried with her!!!
I thank God everyday for sending her into my life.....we have stood together in many of trying times and we have survived.....this trip we are currently on will be no different we will survive.
Also, today is the day I lost my second best friend...Dad I miss you and really wish you were here...but I know that you are watching over all of us!!!!