Friday, December 9, 2011
I don't have a tremendous amount of experience with death. The experiences I have had in dealing with it have the results of an I Love Lucy episode.
Several years ago when I went to church, I was asked to be a pallbearer. For the most part this endeavour went pretty smooth. It was people I knew, but quite honestly were not that close with. My first encounter with death on a more personal level came when my best friends grandmother passed away. Let me just say death does not seem to affect me in an emotional way. Why? I honestly don't know, but I don't cry about it, even when dealing with it first hand. Yes, I have a heart you smart ass! I just don't use it that often.
Getting back to my friends grandmother, David had asked me to go to the funeral home with him to view the body before the funeral. David was a nervous wreck, I on the other hand was probably a little drunk at this point of the evening. In fact I know I was having just learned we were going to a funeral pre show.
We stepped into the viewing room and both took slow steps toward the casket. David seemed to be upset. I put my hand on David's back for support. Oh not emotional support, I was just trying not to fall down from all the jagermeister I had downed.
I took a seat on the front pew and David made his way to the open casket to view his grandmother for the first time since he had learned of her death. About thirty seconds into the viewing, David let out a very loud sob, threw his hand in the air and proceeded to literally run out of the viewing room.
I sat on the front pew wondering what I should do. I slowly got up and approached the open casket. What came over me at the moment was pure amazement. The funeral home had made this old woman who had been sick and in the hospital into such a beautiful vision. She looked like she did when she was alive. I almost expected her to get up and run after David herself. Her hair was immaculate. I wanted to ask if they bothered to do both the front and back of the hair or just called it a day after styling the bangs. No one was going to see the back, right?
A few moments passed and the overwhelming urge to touch her hand came over me. Would that be creepy? I wanted some sort of connection, to know this was real. OK, yes creepy, but I still wanted to do it. I reached my hand upwards and it rested on the casket. I moved it up over the top and then heard "are you okay sir?" it was the funeral director. "I saw your friend run out of here and he seemed very upset, just coming to check on you". I WASN'T TRYING TO TOUCH THAT DEAD BODY, I wanted to scream. I'M NOT A FREAK YOU KNOW! (ironically I lived with the funeral director's daughter for a short time and did actually get to find out how the bodies were maintained, another story)
I backed up off the casket and after and uneasy goodbye with the director I made my way outside where David was having an emotional breakdown in the parking lot of the funeral home. After a few words of encouragement to David we had another shot of JAGER and ended up at an all you can eat chicken restaurant. His grandma would have liked it that way.
I tried to avoid funerals as much as possible after the encounter with Davids grandmother but a few years later my cousin and his wife were killed by someone speeding through an intersection. It was a horrible car accident, which their three children survived.
At the funeral each child was allowed to put something in the casket that reminded them of their father and mother. This cousin was always fun to be around and I remember him fondly. The middle child had to be asked to remove a can of beer from her fathers casket. That would have been so perfect, I thought to myself.
Even though this was a close personal relative, I was again not overly emotional. Not that I wasn't sad but that is just my mode of operation. I had also been asked to be a pallbearer at this funeral, in which I would carry my cousins casket and six other men carried his wife's.
I stood beside the casket ready to carry it out of the church building and I noticed a very attractive fellow pallbearer standing at my cousins wife's casket. Why does he look so familiar? I thought. And then it hit me. The night before I had been out clubbing and had met this hottie at a gay dance bar. That's who that is I thought, he is the hottie from the Silver Star Saloon (yes that is the actual name) that offered me Ecstasy. He was very cute and very mysterious from what I remember the night before. I didn't partake of any Ecstasy and that is probably why he moved on and disappeared the night before. Only to reappear here now at my cousins funeral as a fellow pallbearer.
FATE? yes I thought. At this point it would have been good if reality had entered the room and slapped me severely across the face. And you would think that a double funeral for a close family relative would have done that anyway, but alas I saw this as an opportunity to try to make a move.
How inappropriate would it be to slide across the top of the casket as if it were the General Lee and I was one of the Duke boys? "so you come here often?" I would ask,as my slide stopped right at his pallbearer station. He would laugh, I would laugh, we would embrace and he would go to rehab. Everyone around us would be happy that I had finally found love.
Although I did notice some eye contact at the burial, in retrospect it was probably best that I had just remained at my cousins side and fulfilled my pallbearer duties.
To this day, avoiding the urge to pick up a drug addicted skank whore at my cousins funeral remains one of my proudest moments. We all have to have something to be proud of you know!