Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Mark of the Beast

First things first - big, giant thank you's to everyone in the dog, cat, hamster, and oh everything else blogospheres for all of your love and support in the last few days. Yes, I am a basket case. There are so many things to do, and so many emotions getting in the way.

In the midst of my very worst moments, there are occasional glimpses of absurdity that force me to laugh when all I want to do is cry. Today I had one of those moments.

Klaus was taken to the funeral home on Monday evening. That is a story unto itself. There is no guide really to choosing a funeral home. After Klaus had passed away in my arms on Sunday morning, I felt completely adrift. What exactly do you do at that moment? The show is over, the curtain has come down, and the stagehands want to start cleaning up so they can move on to the next gig. And you are standing there, sad, lonely, and completely confused. I looked around the room that had been my home for 2 weeks and gathered my things. The bag of Klaus' clothing that he was wearing on that awful morning he was admitted to the hospital. The remainders of the food that had been brought for me that was mostly uneaten. My own handbag, now bursting with everything I had needed (and much I did not). It all seemed surreal. I asked the nurses to give the remaining balloons to someone else in the ICU who might enjoy them (yes they looked a tiny bit sad as the helium no longer kept them at full mast, but they might make someone smile and I would have looked truly pathetic walking out of the hospital with them). And then what? I stood outside of Klaus' room and just waited. A chaplain materialized out of nowhere (they did this a lot) and handed me my "grief packet". So... I leave behind the love of my life and in exchange I get a bag of stinky clothing and a grief packet. Damn.

The nagging question of "exactly what do I do now" never really gets answered.

Call a funeral home.

Um, ok.

Can you guide me in that choice?

Um, no.

Can you at least tell me some place that doesn't bury people in the backyard and fill the urn with cigarette ashes?

Um, no.

So I guess I should go now and read my grief packet.

Um, yes.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

Klaus' wish (and mine as well) has always to be cremated. So I narrowed down the list of funeral homes to those with the word "cremation" in the title. And then I chose scientifically - by covering my eyes and pointing to one. I called, they were lovely on the phone, then I called the hospital to inform them of my choice (who knew you called Admitting for this?) and then waited.

And waited. And waited.

No one called that day. As the hours ticked by I realized that they might not have my correct phone number. So I called myself - bingo - and waited for my next contact.

All of which brings me to today. The facility is lovely. My funeral director is lovely. There is no pressure at all to buy an expensive urn. All of the paperwork I need to complete has been prepared for me. This is actually the simplest part of the entire transaction, except for the fact that I am transacting my husband. All seems very well until it is time to pay.

My funeral director disappeared for a moment and when she returned I could see that something wasn't right. She turned over the paper with the invoice. She stammered, and apologized. I'm sure I did the Airedale-head-cocked-to-the-side thing. This sort of thing doesn't happen, she said. To which I looked directly at her and said in a loud, clear voice, "It's $666, isn't it?".

$666. Yes indeed-y. I looked around for Klaus and I laughed out loud, reassuring her that not only was this ok, it was fantastic and hilarious. Badass to the end - Klaus would have LOVED that.

So thanks for the laugh Klaus, I am SURE this was your doing...



Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

My mom is SOOOOO smiling at that...

Or is it a smirk?

With an evil glint in her eye?

But then again, she's used to MY Siberian antikhs!

Once again, tank woo so furry much fur inkhluding 'us' in the details of your will give all of us things to khonsider going furward in our own lives!

PeeEssWoo: My mom said your words were soooo great fur khreating the imagery fur her...HUGS TO BOGART TOO!

Scottie the 'cutie' said...

Khyra put it very nicely made Mom smile too reading about it. Give a huge hug to Bagart from us all...=)


The OP Pack said...

Ditto to all the above from us. Being able to laugh is a great thing, Lulu.

Love to you and Bogart, the OP Pack

Raising Addie said...

Ok.... mom got goose bumps reading that!

We second Khyra in thanking you for sharing your experience with us. You have really painted a clear picture for us of the reality of the situation. Our hearts go out to you.

We can't imagine what you are going through. But we are glad that you received a sign that he is still with you.

Lots of Luv & Kisses
Addie, Lucie and Staci

Persephone and Buster said...

Well now just...bizarre? hmmmmm i've gotta admit i laughed out loud when i read your post -- if you believe M.W.I.* exists then Klaus is sitting at the computer in another space another time laughing. LuLu it's a very good thing you can's the closest thing to crying. Sounds like klaus is sending one last zinger.
stay strong and hug that bogart HD
theBUSTER, Ms.Persephone & Ms. Blue

Persephone and Buster said...

oopsy.. forgot.. M.W.I.....multiple world interpretation developed by the late hugh everett in 1956 as part of his doctorate... i think it's a elegant theory about reality.

Pugsley said...

It is nice to know that our loved ones are with us no matter what:)

Our thoughts and support are still with you each day!!

Heather & Pugsley

Petey said...

Lulu, I know exactly what you mean. There are these moments of absurdity that at least give you some relief from the overwhelming sadness. When my Dad died, I remember going to pick out the box to be buried with his ashes (we held some aside to scatter over the green of his favorite golf hole. That was magical.) You're looking at all these containers - some look like those ceramic holiday decanters with leaping dolphin - and you want to just say - "do you have something between the diamond-encrusted alabaster box and the stryofoam container?"

It's so good seeing you and Bogart visiting some of the blogs. There have been some wonderfully touching tributes to Klaus. And we've all learned from you three that life is to be celebrated.


Jane (and Petey and Mica, too, of course.)

Hercules said...

LTears of sadness or tears of laughter? I'm not real sure what they are...But I do know one thing...That had to have been his doing because you are right and the funeral home lady was right, that NEVER happens!

Love you Boggie and Lulu...


Dughallmor Beagles said...

Oh I just LOVE the way you write....and this is priceless....well, if you pardon the pun. Glad that Klaus managed to paint a smile across your face....i'm sure he'll do it many many more times...and if it's to be a badass, or just for the heck of it, so much the better!

Love, hugs and slobbers to you and Bogart xx

Kirby said...

It's good to know in the midst of everything that's been going on that you can find that crazy moment to laugh. I laughed so hard at the $666 story. I find it quite fitting that Klaus would approve. I hope you and Bogart are comforting each other. We're sending hugs to you all.

With love,
Kirby & Kirstin

Sherry said...

I haven't been checking daily and came to this news late. Lulu, I didn't want to mention this before while we were all hoping for good news, but I have been through this. My husband died at age 51 after weeks in the hospital eight years ago. It can feel as if you are the only person to have experienced this terrible grief. Get in touch with me if you ever want to talk. I'm just outside Seattle.


Lillie Valentine said...

I believe our loved ones visit us to tell us they are OK. My dad died several years ago- he was a cigar smoker....every once in awhile when I'm alone I believe he visits me as I can smell that cigar.....It gives me great peace....Take care of yourself. Our family continues to pray for you and your family. Lillie wishes she was closer so she could give you some wet sloppy kisses. The kind when she drinks and gets water all over her beard and then rubs up against you. Love and prayers, Amy, Kendra, Jordan and Lillie Valentine (Gross)

Anonymous said...

Oh Lulu, thanks so much for letting us share in what is going on, you & Bogart have been on our minds all week. If you need to talk, DawgMom says to just pee-mail us, she lost her Mom a couple of years back & had to handle all the stuff. We think it was Klaus letting you know he will always be around you & Bogart. Keep an eye out & an ear open, you'll find he's there alot. If he was anything like our DawgNanny, he'll be playin tricks on you. :)

Feather, Darla & Pappy, the TN Bull Terrors

Lorenza said...

I think that was Klaus way to tell you he is ok.
Take care
Kisses and hugs

Sunny,Scooter,Jamie said...

Oh Lulu honey! Laughter and tears are so close. Thanks for the laugh tonight!!! There will be signs from Klaus-just watch, listen, smell for them. You got one today!!!!!(come on-how does ANYTHING come to $666?) To know that was Klaus's humor shows me he is with you, letting you know he is ok. LOVE NEVER DIES!!! Doesn't mean it isn't going to be hard or that you'd give your left nut-er-boob to be with him and have a hug. But someday, y'all will be together agin. I believe that. And that tunnel does have a light at the end of it(that grief tunnel) You help me now with my circumstance. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Tonight (or in the morning-you know the fatigue) I write on my blog for you, for Klaus. God bless you, and hug Bogie.
Hugs and so much more,
Jamie and the texas sundogs(doncha wanna move to texas??? we do have more than most people think! And you would make the most coolerest friend!)

Asta said...

I'm sure it was his doing.. a joke in the midst of the most horrible tasks
He'll always be with you
Asta sends her smoochie kisses to you and Bogie

Cassie said...

Lulu, So sorry you have to go through all these things that are so alien to you.Though in a fog, you seem to be carrying on quite well.That $666.was surely a wink at you,No? Can see you doing the Airedale-head-cock! Hang in there. We are here for you. You have my address. Hugs,Cassie,Patrick,BabyRD & Hootie

Stanley said...

Sweet Lulu!

You had my girl shooting Diet Coke out of her nose with that story! It was quite a sight, I'm tellin' ya.

I'm not surprised that Klaus may have arranged for a few moments of absurdity in the midst of everything else you're feeling. My girl says nothing feels so cleansing after a crying jag like a deep heaving belly laugh! We wish many more of these cleansing moments for you.

Please give my Bogie an atomic booty scritch and a snuggle from all of us, and I would like you to accept my juiciest of comforting goob smooches please!

We love you with all our goober hearts,
Stanley (for my girl)

Jackson said...

Dear Lulu, your post made us smile. Of course Klaus is there, watching over you and Bogart. He'll always be there.

Much love, J1 & Jackson x

Molly and Taffy said...


We certainly were smiling by the time we finished reading this post. What an extraordinary day you had, Klaus truly is watching out for you.

Take care of yourself and woofs to Bogart.

Molly and Taffy

Suzuki said...

BOL He must have been a furry funny man :)
Big licks to you

Faya said...

Of course it was Klaus..... We are all smiling here now. Thank you Lulu and give Bogart a big kiss,
VĂ©ronique, Faya & Dyos

Snowball said...


Our thoughts are with you at this tough time. Be strong.


Maggie and Mitch said...

You are an amazing woman, Miss Lulu! We think about you from sun-up until sun-down! Thanks for the smile! Give Bogie a gigantic hug from us!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

MISS PEACH ~(^.^)~ said...

I am with Maggie & Mitch of course because we are related (long story ask my cousin Blue). You are a very classy lady to hold yourself up so well. We think about you all the time...we send you strength when you feel weak...we send you comfort when you feel lonely in the night...know how much we incredibly sad we are for your loss.
Love from Miss Peach

Mango said...

That is a great story. I didn't know your dad was such a badass. Hee hee.

Thanks, as always, for sharing. Good thing the peoples were nice to your mama or they would have gotten a talkin to from one fuzzy faced little Dale.


Miss Ellie and Baz said...

Have to agree with Maggie and Mitch - Miss Lulu you are an amazing, strong woman.
Klaus will never be far from you, he is forever in your heart and your memory. Smile everytime you think of him.
Take care sweetie.
Huggies to Bogie.

Miss Ellie, Bazzy and Jo xxxxxx

Martha Basset said...

Hi Lulu
Yes it all absurd and surreal - one day you will look back and wonder how you did it all. I am glad Klaus shared the laugh with you. He always will. Just because he is not sitting beside you doesnt mean he is not still there with you helping you through.
I have never heard of a 'grief packet' but walking out of that hospital with a bag of belongings is something else, isnt it!
You are so much in our thoughts right now.
Big hugs to your and Bogart.


Abby said...

Hi, Lulu...

Somehow, in their own way, they let us know they are still there...

Thanks for sharing...

You are in our thoughts & prayers every day...

Abby & her Mom xxxooo

BenTheRotti said...

awww Lulu, I'm so glad you can see the moments of humour through your pain. I can relate to the surreal bewilderment, when my father in law died a couple of years ago it was like watching someone else do everything. One minute we are laughing on the phone the next minute police are at our door telling us he had passed away, hundreds of miles away from home whilst out working driving his truck! Surreal doesn't even touch what happened in the weeks that followed. Walking into a hospital miles from home and being handed the contents of his pockets in a brown envelope, being taken into a room where he lay, still in work clothes, looking fast asleep and mildly amused (which didn't help make it beliveable but I suppose that was the shock) nothing sank in, it was like being in a bad movie script. After a 2 hour journey home we walked in to a ringing telephone, the donation people, now I know there is a time scale but seriously in my head he wasn't really even gone, that is the most surreal conversation I will probably ever have.. the worst conversation and it went on forever!
The following day we sat in the funeral directors discussing what colour wood for his coffin and i was thinking.. WTF does it matter he is being cremated do they really need to put us through all this!.. this was my anger stage of the day.. the.. this is so unfair we are only in our thirties we shouldn't be here discussing coffins for one of our parents!
At some point in the conversation she asked us to date a form we were signing.. like I knew what day it was never mind the date! She said.. it's 9th March .. me and hubby looked at each other in disbelief, our wedding anniversary, thats when the anger turned into a manic hysteria! How many times on our anniversary had we moaned that Dad interuppted some special plan.. well some things never change do they? manic hysteria was soon replaced by devastation at the realisation he would never intefere or interrupt again, the phone would never ring at an awkward moment, the knock on the door just as we had settled down to watch a film would never come.. then we were howling and wishing for any kind of inteference, any but this.
The surrealness lasted for weeks, probably months. Looking back it's probably partly what kept us sane, probably partly what got us through every awful process we were forced to deal with. I can tell you though that our main saving grace, the thing that still almost two years later saves us and makes our memories and love for him all the more precious is the humour.. even in the darker things, because look hard enough and you will find it. The irony at a situation that we know would have cracked him up.. the thought of him looking down on us nodding in approval at every rant I screamed at some unsuspecting employee of some dumb ass company who didn't seem to have been trained in sympathy, tact or understanding and made me make endless and fruitless phone calls attempting to sort stuff out (my rants are something of legend and something that always amused him)the gas company who rang on the day of his funeral insisting to speak with him (completely deaf to the fact I kept repeating he had passed away) until in sheer frustration I said "actually the hearse just pulled up so now he is home, i'll ask the funeral director to throw the phone in the coffin, i'm not sure he is feeling too talkative today though!".. seriously grief does strange things to you! What I do know is that Dad would have laughed at that and I wouldn't be suprised if he didn't put that thought right in my head and force it out of my mouth! I'm sure it's no coincidence that he arrived just as I was about to blow a fuse and his arrival turned me from raging freak to calmly taking the p*** out of the gobsmacked gas employee!

There are many days of sorrow, many dark moments and if onlys.. but there are also many moments where I will look across at hubby and a smile will creep across his face and I know he is thinking of his Dad and the memory warms and comforts him. Hang in there Lulu those moments will come and in the meantime embrace the surreal.

much love to you, Bogie and the kitties, you are always in our thoughts

Sue & Ben xxxx


Hi Lulu and Boggie,

Yep, that was definately Klaus pulling that $666 stunt. How funny. When my Dad died I went balistic becuase I was with him when he died in the emergency room and couldn't do anything but be there with him. It was awful but meant so much to me becuase I was the one he told them to call. There's nothing wrong with crying, I do it all the time but laughing works evertime.

When Daddy died, the family was gathering up stuff to take to the funeral home and I was in the bathroom looking for his favorite "old Spice" and came across his cup with his shaving soap and brush and starting crying holding it next to my heart. Then my brother-in-law came in & said "Sadie, it's mine not Daddy".
Talk about laughing. It was just what the family needed. My Daddy loved to laugh and make people laugh and he still does even though he's been gone 24 years. He is with me always and still making me laugh.

We are here for you.....Sarah, Mona's Mommy.

Alasandra said...

(Hugs) We are sure it was Klaus' doing as we are sure he knows how much you need laughter in your life, especially when you are so sad. You will be in our thoughts and we will be praying that you and Bogart will find all you need to get through this dark time. ~Alasandra (Socks, Scylla, Charybdis & Fenris)

The Airechicks said...

Lulu -

What wonderfully surprising moment....

Klaus is a GREAT character!!!!

Smile alot - it's okay
Get mad - a whole lot - it's really okay
Cry alot - it's okay
But don't ever wonder that Klaus is with you -

That Klaus ... what an angel....

Thank you for sharing with us!!


Lynne said...

Over the next few years you'll be surprised at the number of "coincidences" and quirks such as the $666. Look for Klaus in dreams too.

My late husband reassures different family members in different ways: a song for me, rainbows for a friend, the aroma of his pipe tobacco to his mother. She told me just last night she caught the scent of Jay's tobacco. She lives alone and no one smokes in her house. Klaus will find ways to stay with you. You just aren't "face to face" anymore.

I wrote a brief letter to friends and family here:
It might help you too. Lulu, you are in my thoughts daily. No one wants to be in this damn Widow's Club.

Teddy said...

Hi Lulu,
What a coincidence...or was it? Maybe it was Klaus' way of letting you know that he's OK. I'm bet you'll keep getting messages from him. Maybe Bogart will get some too.

Teddy, T-man Angel and mom

Deetz said...

My mum told me a story...I will make it short...When her mum died she wanted cremated...mum was in the same situation, Its not like you do this everyday. The funeral director was really nice and it got all serious and mum said she looked at him and said "Now, I am not going to be getting an extra arm or leg in this urn am I (cuz she heard bad things about cremating)..the funeral director got up slowly...said he would be right back...and closed the door behind him...All her sisters and brothers said "I cannot believe you just said that"..and she said you could hear the funeral director laughing behind the door...She said it broke the ice. She knew her mother put those words in her mouth cuz she was always laughing and cut'n up....
We love you and give you great big paw hugs...

Lucia said...

Ciao caro Lulu,


Lucia and her girl

Marvin -The Hollow Hound said...

Dear Lulu, thank you for sharing this with us, and I admire your strength amidst such awfulness.

Yes, it is very odd how even in the most tragic circumstances, something happens to make us laugh, smile etc.

Your post brought back memories of when my Pa passed away back in 2005, and the situation afterwards, and how I remember when something really absurd happened which made me laugh, automatically thinking to myself, "oh wait until I tell Dad! He will like this one!!", difficult choices for you, and very difficult times.

Your strength is amazing, please look after yourself as well, hugs and kisses to Bogart too. And it will actually help you to write this stuff out I am sure..........

The 666 made me laugh out loud too!

love and much light, Jeannie and Marvin and family xxxxxxxx

Marvin -The Hollow Hound said...

sorry meant to say I have never heard of a Grief Packet, must be an American thing I guess.

Homer said...

Dear Lulu,

Thanks for sharing. You are an amazing and strong lady. We are always thinking about you.

Take care and lots of hugs to Bogart.

Homer and family.

Daniella said...

Echoing everyone else, thanks for sharing your most intimate moments, I think that is why we all feel your pain and disbelief so keenly. And we all identify. The 666 thing is hilarious, I agree with everyone, Klaus sent you a message and is with you.
Still thinking of you every day!

Daniella and Ax

Sweepy said...

Now I know why there is a Women's month. Women are a lot stronger than us. I was such a cry baby, er doggy, while in your grief and confusion, you managed to find meaning in such a trying time. To look at the gray world and not be afraid to feel silly. You will be OK. And I'm woofy glad!

I hope Bogart is OK.

Digsby Mac Feegle said...

Fantastic story. They are always with us. No one ever truly leaves.

Ruby Bleu said...

Hi Lulu...
You have to grab on to those moments don't you! That really is Klaus letting you know he's still around!

hang in there...

Michele and Ruby

pughy said...

That sign was as ure as anthing a sign that Klaus was watching and sending you a lighter moment. Grab each moment and snile at them later as you wold have done when you were together. Your love for each oher will be all around you and comfort you when you need it most. Bogart will be the one that picks up a sign first as they are so perseptiveJasper looks up at a spot often and I am sure he smiles, his look says here is grandma.

In our thoughts and prayers
Ginger jasper and his mum Carol xxx

Ellen said...

Oh, he was reaching out, no doubt. And I am with so many of the other posters; Klaus will continue to visit in many ways. Scents that come and go out of nowhere are, to me, the biggest clue "someone" is stopping in to say hello and check on you.
Continued healing,

Jersey Girl said...

Laughter through of God's greatest gifts to us.

I agree with the others, especially Ellen...scents are a big clue. My grandmother stops by with her unusual scent of lilly-of-the-valley perfume, cedar closet and a faint hint of cigarette smoke. There's nothing else that could ever make those scents combine in one place...those elements doen't even exist in my house!

You and Bogart continue to be in our prayers. My Corgi men send as many Corgi kisses as they can muster.

Lady Kaos said...

Oh my goodness! That's funny. I hope both you and Bogart are doing ok. I could never imagine what you're going through right now. Big hugs to you both and take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

The Mom and I just wanted to stop by and say we are thinking about you guys. We lost someone special about a year and a half ago and we can understand how you might be feeling.

I'm sending many puppy kisses your way. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and we know that Klaus is still with you guys!

Bruin and The mom (Barb)

Eduardo said...

I agree with everyone! Thank you for sharing this story! My Mommy prays for you so much Lulu, give Bogart a big hug for us & just take it one day at a time. We loves y'all!
Hugs & Snugs
Eduardo the Snuggle Puggle

Sally and Rufus said...

$666 that's cheap! They charge $1800 here in Alberta. We'll have to cemate the uprights in Oregon!
Oops don't tell anyBODY.
Big Hugs to all your family,
Sally and Rufus XOX

Finni said...

Hi Lulu,
Thank you for sharing! Little things like these mean we'll never forget him :). It's good to to see you coping with this difficult time like this. You're amazing!
Finni, Nelly and Elke xxx

Rambo said...

I know that Klaus' angel is floating around you!
My G-Mom says you are one amazing human. She says there should be more like you. Stay strong.
Rambo, MM & the G

William Tell said...

I'm sure Klaus would be very happy to see a smile on your face right now. As long as you can smile when you think of him, he'll always be with you.

William Tell & Family

mare said...

Your smile made me smile for you -

666, who'd have known :-0

Be well and safe Lulu, and Bogart. That's all Klaus would really want.

Joe Stains said...

Well this sure made us smile, we are glad you are still strong enough to laugh too. We can't imagine the feeling of confusion and pain, but we are here with you through it all.

Ok, I am going to go listen to some Iron Maiden now!!

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Oh Lulu...that was SO Klaus speaking!!! When love is defined by caring and laughter, the line is NOT linear...there is no end...he's right there with you, watchin' over ya...we can't see the wind, can we???

So so glad you could find a "moment" in the midst of's those moments that keep us going!

So much love,

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanny...Mumsie too!

Erica said...

It's good when you can find a moment to laugh. Much love from Lee & Erica - and the cats. :)

Shmoo said...

Yeah, there really should be instructions for what to do, a nice step-by-step list for these things. When my dad died, I had to drive 600 miles home and discovered my sister had purchased $5,000 worth of funeral "goodies" for a guy that wanted to be cremated and left alone... I ended up paying for it. I felt like "Leon, the Professional" swooping in to take care of the effects and help my mom deal and get stuff transferred to her.

sammawow said...

Oh, Lulu, we are so glad that you could laugh a bit! Surely Klaus had something to do with that $666 - and what a wonderful description of your "Airedale-head-cocked-to-the-side" - we're still smiling here! You, Bogart and the kitties are in our thoughts and thank you for sharing all with us.

{{{hugs}}} from Mom Teri
and purrrrrs from China Cat & Willow

wally said...

I think I hear Klaus giggling. :)

Many corgador licks for you and Bogart.

wally t.

Dino and Family said...

I am sure it was Klau's idea about that 666 to make you laugh. Bravo Klaus! Big warm hugs for you Lulu and Bogart! Love, Dino

Johann The Dog said...

666, that's so, well perfect! Good for Klaus to make you laugh :)

I remember when my Dad died, the paster/minister/whatever kept hovering and hovering around my Dad's room as time closed in. It made my Mum soooo mad. So that was really interesting to hear it even happens clear across the pond.

I am sure you will be numb for a while - someone once told me that is to protect you in some form or fashion. When they said that to me, I thought, protect me from going insane, I would gather.

We are with you!!!!

Sue said...

That's awesome!