Full Moon Funeral
I had met with Laura and Beth three days earlier. They realized that they needed to make some plans for what to do when their mother passed. Laura's little apartment was transformed into a sick room, with her mom's few possessions and her medications and equipment taking up the whole living room. Boxes and furniture crowded Laura's living space. Sharon's brother and the hospice chaplain were also visiting, so Laura, Beth, and I sat at the kitchen table and had a cup of tea and talked, while the others sang hymns and prayed in the adjoining "bedroom."
Laura and Beth told me they didn't know what to do when their mom died. I replied, "Well, there's really very little you have to do. You don't have to do anything in a hurry."
This seemed to be a big relief to them. I explained that when their mom passed, it wasn't an emergency, that I could guide them through the process of caring for Sharon's body at home.
I explained the steps. The first thing would be to thoroughly wash her body, similarly to how they had been giving her bed baths. Then they would need to pick out some clothes and dress or swaddle her. They would adorn her and arrange her body in the way they wanted her to look for the next few days. Her body would remain on her marital bed that had been moved into the apartment to be her resting place and give her a sense of home. A few pieces of dry ice would be wrapped in cloths and placed underneath her body to cool it and delay decomposition. It could be replenished as needed. I assured them I would be there to guide them through the process if they wanted.