I’M A FILE man, a decades-long habit. I had a jammed file cabinet in Houston, and I have another one in Mexico.
I was going through the Miscellaneous file recently and came upon my mother’s death certificate and the certificate of cremation from Atlanta Crematory Inc. My sister mailed these to me in 2009, which is when my mother died.
You learn things by reading a death certificate and a certificate of cremation. I notice that my mother died on Jan. 8, and she was also cremated on Jan. 8. No time was lost.
There was no wake.
The certificate of cremation doesn’t have lots of details, but the death certificate is more informative. Mother died in Emory University Hospital at age 90. She had been hospitalized about a week, and had been taken there by my sister.
I only have one sibling, and she is a very conflictive person, which is one reason I was not present. I prefer distance between my sister and myself.
The death certificate says my mother’s “usual occupation” was teacher, and that’s quite right. Eighth Grade was her preferred class because she said they were old enough to wipe themselves but too young to have become smartasses.
Her parents — my grandparents, of course — are named. Her father’s full name was Walter Jackson Powell, which I knew. Her mother’s full name was Osie Evelyn Moree, which was interesting. I never knew her middle name.
Osie is a very old-fashioned name, but Evelyn isn’t so much. Nonetheless, you don’t see many babies nowadays named Evelyn. I like Evelyn. It’s all about Eve.
(Going back further, her father was Dard Moree, a very wealthy farmer who would have been born about the time the Yankee General Sherman was laying waste to Georgia. Dard’s success played a role in my being able to retire at 55, bless him.)
She was my favorite grandparent by far. My maternal grandfather died when I was 12, and my father’s folks lived farther north, way up in Atlanta, and we lived in Florida. Mother’s people lived in south Georgia.
It was an easier drive in the Plymouth, plus my father didn’t like his parents. My mother, an only child, loved hers.
Moving down the certificate, I see that even though the Atlanta Crematory Inc. cremated Mother, it was Wages & Sons Funeral Home in Stone Mountain, Georgia, that handled the arrangements. Mother had a contract with them.
Wages & Sons Funeral Home. Ironic, no? Wages & Sons also handled my father’s funeral back in 1991. I attended that one. I did not attend my mother’s funeral because there wasn’t one. I’m not sure exactly why. My sister ran that show.
The certificate goes on to point out that Mother was not embalmed, which I guess is normal if a cremation is in the cards. And then we get to the cause of death.
Since she was 90, the cause is pretty straightforward. She died of old age, but hospitals and City Halls want details, and here they are. Three conditions did her in.
Starting one week before she drew her final breath was “pseudomonas healthcare acquired pneumonia,” which sounds like she got pneumonia from being in the hospital. And then two days before her death, there was acute renal failure and hyperkalemia. I had to Google that last one.
The “cause of death,” it says, was congestive heart failure. And there was no autopsy. Good. Any halfwit who’d finished Junior High knows why she died. She was 90.
Down at the bottom of the certificate are the names of the attending physician, Sonjay Raja Lakar, and the “certifier,” Dr. Ronak Patel, demonstrating that multiculturalism is alive and well at Emory University Hospital.
Did you know the overwhelming majority of American motels are operated by East Indians? I read that somewhere.
It’s interesting to get into the files now and then.
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(Note: For a more heartfelt yarn about my mother’s death, one written just after the event, read Dancing the Hassapiko.)