Nana gave us a month to come to terms with the upcoming World-With-No-More-Nana. That month was a roller-coaster of near-joy and near-despair as she teetered back and forth between worlds. In the end, she left us in her sleep. Only a few days earlier she threatened to tie the sheets together and climb out the window.
The small procession of four cars made its way across Post-Apocalyptic Minneapolis, now missing its 35W Vena Cava. We convened at Fort Snelling Graveyard. The priest came and said some words meant to be comforting. I remember trying to participate, but my Catholic is a bit rusty. Not many tears; like I said, we had plenty of time to grieve and try to get used to this end.
Afterward, the small group made their way out to where Nana’s husband is buried, a nearby predug hole in the ground didn’t make it any easier to find.
As we stood around, solemnly contemplating Nana’s soon-to-be resting place forever and ever amen, a frontloader arrived, followed by a truck full of dirt, a dozen grungy and crabby-looking workers, and a flatbed, carrying Nana herself. The pink Cadillac of a coffin carefully packed into a quarter-ton of cement (called a vault) and gracelessly craned over into the hole.
“I’m sorry,” one of the workers said, “but you’ll have to leave.”
“Um, excuse me?”
“Sorry, but we can’t have you standing around. Someone might get hurt with all this machinery. And our insurance, well…you know.”
No, in fact I *don’t* fucking know. I don’t know why we can’t follow our dearly beloved Nana to the end of the line, her Final resting place. But what do you do, slug a gravedigger in the face for doing his job? Drop him in the hole and drop Nana’s three-quarter-ton hermetically-sealed home on top of him, just because he followed orders written down by an insensitive boob? Course not. So we sadly and slowly walked back to the car.
I wish the story ended there.
We made our way back to our cars, and navigated the maze out from the cemetery, we chanced to pass by Nana one last time. The trucks were gone now, save one, and one lone worker ran a dirt-packer over the top of Nana’s freshly filled grave. Much like a jackhammer with a phone book on the end of it, the dirt-packer hammers the dirt down, pushing the air out, making sure that no settling occurs later on.
I guess Fort Snelling has a schedule to keep. Bodies to bury. And they ain’t got no time for shit like respect for the living or the dead. They couldn’t let us actually view the internment, and couldn’t wait five fucking minutes for us to leave before running a fucking dirt-packer over the top of our dearly-beloved.
Laugh or cry, take your pick.
Well Nana, hope the dirt packer didn’t tick you off as much as it did me. And say “hi” to Gramps and Gabby for me…