I saw her in the casket, her vapid vessel that resembled someone I used to know. I was no stranger to death. I had stared at empty eyes many times in many different forms. Each time I’d watch the life element fade. Whatever you called it. A soul, atoms, the brain-it depended on who you asked. I learned early there was no truth in death. Everybody had a different theory but there wasn’t a single dead person I could ask and know for sure. I can’t remember how many nights were spent awake trying to talk to ghosts and trying to interpret the barometric pressure as supernatural signs.
After awhile, the thought of paradise was easy to supplicate every possible deity for, but the more nights I spent thinking about it and trying to understand it, the more it seemed dubious.
This funeral was different. I was an adult. We had known each other since the sixth grade, when I first arrived in Colorado. Through foster homes and over 20 different schools we kept ending up in the same school all through college. She was the first person to make me laugh in Colorado. She was the first person I opened up to about something that I thought made me weird and she simply shrugged it off nonchalantly and remained my friend. She was the last person I envisioned burying before myself at such a young age. 26.
Ever since I left the church after the funeral I can’t stop crying. It just happened randomly. I was at work and it fucking started while I was unloading the truck. I fucking looked like an idiot. Why? My boss let me go home. Like I’m crazy. Fucking crazy. Where were the tears at the funeral when everybody was asking why I even showed up if I didn’t care about her? Did I care? Maybe I didn’t?
I should have been the one to die, not fucking her. She has kids. Her kids were there. Her daughter is two. TWO! She won’t even remember her at all. Her husband was laying on the floor by her casket. Ex husband, I guess. The room was so full of people from her church, her job, her family. I tried to imagine what my funeral would look like. My three sisters would be there. My mom. One of my sisters would probably say my final requests were a stupid choice. Even in death, she’d hate the decisions I made. The other two would be crushed. They’re my best friends. Could I do that to them?
As I watched the tribute video to my friend, I realized they wouldn’t be able to make a tribute video for me. I have photos of relatives, sights I’ve driven to and events I’ve gone to, but I hate photos of myself. I have none. I don’t even have any of me as a baby or kid. That’s crazy to think about. If I left, nobody would have photos with me in them.
Four people would be at my funeral. Four. Why did the creator take somebody with so many people who cared and leave behind someone without kids and single. It makes no fucking sense. My friend should be here with her kids and I should be gone. I stared at her memorial paper. I can’t even comprehend…..I’ll never see her again.
I can’t stop thinking about death. I woke up sweating and couldn’t breathe. She was laying in the casket. I had walked up it. I heard her grandma telling another relative she died in her sleep. That was reassuring. A hole was in her lung, causing her to internally bleed to death while she slept. Grandma could have just stopped talking at “She died in her sleep.” So she bled to death. Something preventable. After the car accident, they released her instead of keeping her. Had she stayed the night in the hospital, so many people’s lives would be so different right now. A simple mistake and it changed hundreds of lives that day.
We’re all dying. What is the point of anything? Why even have kids if you’re just going to end up having them bury you? At 5 or 105, I can’t imagine there is ever a good time to lose your parent. I wondered how they told her son she was gone. Forever. That’s a concept incomprehensible to many adults. I can’t even imagine how a 6 year old processed that. They were extremely religious, so they probably told him she was in Heaven. It makes the grieving process easier to believe it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of eternal bliss. They’re happy now, so don’t be sad. It’s easy to see how the concept of Heaven became popular.
If I ever had to explain to a kid that somebody died, I’d probably tell them about Heaven too, even if I don’t believe in it myself.
I wish I could believe, but I needed to know answers, not believe. It’s called belief system for a reason and there’s a reason there are so many religions and people usually believe what their parents told them to believe, rather than researching it themselves and coming to their own conclusions.
I used to try to imagine who I was without my body as a temple. If it was just my eyes and I wasn’t bound by the laws of physics. I’d fly through space and explore all there was to explore. Would I discover some type of Heaven or garden paradise? With different experiences, different parents, a different life, I could be anybody. I could be my enemy, I could cure cancer, or sleep under a bridge for the rest of my life. I could wake up from a coma in a world I knew nothing about. I guess we’re all just products of different trauma and different experiences, which gave us the illusion we’re all different. But really, I could find some things I have in common with Jeffrey Dahmer or Nikola Tesla. I could be the next serial killer or the next author. Depending on how I decided to view my experiences and learn from them or grow hateful and vengeful from them.