The next three days were filled with phone calls, flowers, food, visitors, plans, arrangements, and decisions. Let me say here that if you don't have a will, get one written. If you don't have a cemetery plot, purchase one. If you haven't made your wishes for your final arrangements known, tell someone. The people you leave behind when you die have to make some of the most important decisions of their lives at a time when they are the least prepared to do so. Thankfully, I was still in my state of numbness (and probably shock too) so I just went about what I had to do kind of like a robot. I felt like I was off somewhere else watching myself go through the motions. I have always been a very organized person who likes things done right and that wasn't about to change now.
Eddie's family was in south Georgia and not planning to arrive here until Wednesday and Thursday. I didn't want to exclude them from the planning, but the arrangements had to be made before then. So, with the help of Trey, my mother, and my father I began to take care of things. This may sound strange, but my first call was to our insurance agent. I had to make sure there would be money from the life insurance before I could begin to plan a funeral. Once that was taken care of, the next step was to choose a funeral home. Thankfully, once that was done they walked me through the rest of the arrangements. We had to set a date and time for visitation and the funeral. I had to choose music and scripture and contact the preacher for the service. I had to gather pictures from home that I wanted included in the slideshow that would be played during visitation and prior to the service. I had to provide information for the obituary. Then came the almost impossible tasks of choosing a casket and picking out a burial plot.
I had never given any thought to how someone went about purchasing a casket. I guess I thought you just looked at a brochure or catalog and picked out the one you wanted. I never dreamed you actually shopped for one like you would shop for clothes or shoes. We were taken into a room at the funeral home that was filled with samples. When I first stepped into that room my insides froze - I know my heart skipped a few beats and I literally couldn't breathe. It took a few seconds before I could make myself move. Trey was with me, and I can only imagine that he was feeling the same way. We had to move around the room and choose the style, color, and lining we wanted. They even had decorations and ornaments that could be added to the outside. Trey chose to add handles with baseball, hunting, and fishing to the outside. He said his daddy would like that.
As if that wasn't enough for one day, we then had to choose a plot in the cemetery. The funeral director drove us around, pointing out available spots in various areas they called gardens. It was like looking for land to build a house on - we wanted an area that wasn't too crowded, preferably with some shade, definitely with a nice view, and with available plots around it for family members to use in the future. We finally agreed on a spot that we all liked and that we thought Eddie would like too. The ride back to the funeral home was totally silent. We were all wiped out, emotionally and physically. We had taken the first steps, but there was still much more to get through.
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2