Yesterday I had a message on my answering machine from my bio dad. He never initiates a call ... always says he was just about to call me after he answers my phone call to him (once every three months or so). So to hear his voice on my recorder saying, "this is your old man, give me a call tonight" ... left me thinking someone had died. And sure enough, his wife (my step mom) of 30+ years had died after a lengthy and painful case of stenosis of the spine ... plus she and been a heavy smoker her whole life. She apparently removed her oxygen mask during the night, as that's how he found her in the morning. Soon the coroner and sheriff's department arrived ... and a short time later a (medical) university van arrived and took her body away. You see, she and my bio dad have made arrangements to leave their bodies to science. I'm not sure why ... just don't want to pay for a funeral ... or ... have some great humanitarian quest to help the med students. I rather think it's the first suggestion quite frankly. When I finally returned his call he was finished with the arrangements, had plans of working today, and didn't want me to send flowers or a sympathy card. There's to be no memorial service ... nothing ... she's just gone ... no closure ... nada. I mentioned if he felt sad or lonely to give me a call (we live in different states so I can't just go pay a visit). I'm sorry ... but I need closure. I'm going to respect his no flowers or card wishes ... but I am going to write him a letter. If nothing else, I can find a bit of closure myself by doing so.
Update: Last night I gave my dad a call and we must have talked over 90 minutes. This was the longest conversation we have ever had (we have only seen each other three times since 1990). He was able to give me more details about their final arrangements that made more sense than just casually hearing for the last ten years that they are leaving their bodies to science. The university does have memorial services a few times a year and family members are invited to them. The deceased are given a memorial plaque somewhere on the grounds in a specified area where ashes are buried. He went on in detail how caring for her had been very difficult and mentally draining on him and how much pain she had been in and all the medications and surgeries she had endured. She was a character of a woman ... always opinionated and bossy with a fiery temper ... he is laid back to a fault. With all of her brassiness, I do, however, believe she had an enduring love and belief in Jesus. And I pray she is at peace with Him now.
Rest In Peace
July 1, 1927 - January 24, 2008