Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Don't Be Late, She's Decomposing
Well, I'm back.
I wasn't going to write about this experience, but my uncle encouraged me to do so with a choice Shakespeare quote. If I pegged it correctly. I've never been one for the classics. I'm sure this will get me in trouble, but I've always remembered to be honest and write without restraint, so here I go.
The hostess wears a black ribbon in her hair, whispers her words, and cranes her neck in practiced sympathy. All day long she quitely ushers mourning families into silent parlors and stands in the corner as the bereaved fill tissues with snot and tears. She witnesses as callow callous youths scoff at the framed quotes from greats such as Lincoln and Churchill hung in washrooms and grief lounges.
I'd hate working in a funeral home. My humor is disgustingly inappropriate for such a setting, and I'd be helpless before the endless barrage of morbid symbolism. Even the blackness of the courtesy coffee would set me off into aberrant giggling fits.
There's an off chance the decor was intentionally humorous. There was a small basket of books for children. Facing outwards was The Big Book Of Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are extinct. Death. Clocks hung in every room, some modern, some antique. Time marches on. Death. A trio of old cameras were arranged on a shelf representing frozen moments gone by. Time marches on, again. Plastic flowers leaned from vases. Death? Oh, I get it. Preservation. A little mortuary humor. A pastoral wooden fence by Thomas Kincade hung in the entryway. How cheerful. I hate Kincade.
I can't say much about Grandma. She looked terrible, of course. During my private moment, I studied her. Her fingers were thick and swollen. Her lips were discreetly sewn shut. Her cheeks were sunken. I touched her arm and said goodbye. I'm not sure if there was stuffing in there, but feeling that spongey give underneath my fingers revolted me and I pulled my hand back, appalled.
I regained my composure and chose instead to spend a few moments with the two photographs. I memorized her smile. I walked away.
She was 92. She lived a good life. I was more upset watching my parents cry than I was hearing of her death. Still, I look forward to the funeral on Friday. I'll probably learn more about my grandmother than I have during my entire life. 8:37 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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