Pete and Bucky stood outside for a while, talking about what they could imagine needed to be done over the next few days. The late night air was cool and mild, and it refreshed them a bit to stand in the quiet night.
"Mostly it'll be doing whatever Sarah says," concluded Bucky. Pete agreed. They thought it was time to find the funeral home representative, and when they got back to the nurse's station he had just arrived. He introduced himself as Garth Eckhardt. Bucky started to explain Yo's last wishes, and Garth told them it was possible to do things Yo's way, sort of.
"But since she won't be enbalmed, you can't wait that long, and you cannot have an open casket. You would have to have the laying out tomorrow." Pete and Bucky looked at each other.
"Well," said Bucky, "OK, I don't know how this is going to work, but just don't do anything. Don't start enbalming. Don't do any cosmetic work. I'll come in tomorrow morning, I'll call Sarah tonight, we'll figure out how close we can get to what Yo wanted done."
"Fine," said Garth, "We won't do anything tonight. You two can go home now if you'd like."
"Oh no," said Bucky, "I'm going to stay." He looked at Pete. "Or, is that OK? Can we stay? I stayed when Grandma Dee died, and Yo asked me to take off her rings. She couldn't do it herself." Pete said yes, they could stay.
As the boys led Garth down the hall, Bucky said to Pete, "Everyone's telling us we can leave."
"I guess most people don't want to be involved with the intimate details," said Pete.
He and Bucky helped Garth lift Yo's body off her bed onto the gurney, and Garth carefully pulled the covers over it. They all filed out of Yo's room, back up the hall to the nurse's station. Bucky and Pete took their jackets this time. Now it was finally over, and they could go home.
"Oh, jiggers, wait," said Bucky. "I want to get something out of the room." He and Pete walked back down the hall.
"I don't know what they might be doing in the room tomorrow. Or, today, I guess," Bucky said as they walked. By this time it was well aftrer midnight. "I want to get Mark Hatfield's Soul painting. That'd be a mess if someone thought that belonged to Carroll Village and took it out." Loie and Bucky's friend Hilary had taken one of Mark's paintings to Yo's room. It was one of a series of paintings Mark had done for Hilary while she was pregnant, and Hilary thought a mother and child soul picture would be the perfect thing for Yo. Bucky lifted the painting off the wall; he and Pete walked back up the hall again.
When they got to the front door of Carroll Lutheran Village Health Center, Pete and Bucky were surprised to see a wild squall of snow and sleet blowing. It was only a little bit before that they had been standing in the mild night, wondering what they would need to do next.
"Where did this come from?" said Bucky, and Pete answered, "It's Yo's goodbye."
He moved a few steps with the wind whipping his jacket open, toward the edge of the covered area in front of the door, and Bucky began to follow him. Then Bucky remembered he was carrying the uncovered Soul Painting.
"Hang on Pete," said Bucky. "We can't take this out in this weather. Can you drive 'round?" Pete agreed and continued out into the storm. It was only a few seconds dash to his car, and he soon circled back around the drive to pick up Bucky under the front roof.
The boys drove home mostly quiet, each wrapped in his own thoughts and memories. Pete concentrated on driving through the whipping sleet and snow. They had spoken to Terrie and Loie earlier, and knew Loie had gone home not long after they had first left for the nursing home, which now seemed a long time ago. She had offered to come get Bucky when it was time to go home, but Pete had said he would drive Bucky home.
The wild weather soon calmed, and by the time they were driving up the lane at Lake Drive, stars were beginning to gleam through ragged clouds.
"Do you want me to take off work tomorrow, and help with stuff?" asked Pete as he parked in front of Bucky and Loie's house.
"I don't know," said Bucky. "No, why don't you go to work tomorrow, and just start getting ready to do things Wednesday and Thursday. I'll have to find out from the funeral home exactly what we can do and when, and we won't know that until tonight, really. Thanks for driving me home. It was good to have a ride in the Big Red Machine in that weather." Bucky meant Terrie's Jeep Cherokee, which is what Pete had driven.
"My pleasure," said Pete, "I'll talk to you tonight." They parted with admonishments on both their parts to "get some sleep."
Loie was awake when Bucky finally got upstairs, and he told her all there was to tell as he got ready for bed.
"Now we're going to be busy," he said.
"Do you want me to stay home from work?" Loie asked.
"No, I don't think so. Go on in to work today, and maybe try to get ready to do stuff on Tuesday and Wednesday."
"I can't believe Yo is dead," said Loie as Bucky turned off the last light.
"Me either," said Bucky.
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