Chapter Six, page 6
This is the last part of this particular life story from my autobiography. Thanks for all of the kind words! I have another blog where I have been writing the whole thing from back earlier in my life. See my About Me page for the link. Enjoy!
There was a friendly person at the door handing out papers of some sort. I just ignored them, but my mom took one. I didn’t know what to do, so I just started trying to find Ginny. When I saw her, we introduced our moms to each other. They exchanged greetings, and we walked off to talk. I noticed people sitting in chairs crying. Then I saw it – the coffin – death staring me in the face! The coffin was open which scared me even more. As I had always wondered what happened to people when they died and were buried, I still wondered – was that it? I didn’t like to think about death; I was afraid of it. Somehow I didn’t believe people just got buried and their souls went “poof” into oblivion, but I had no idea where anyone’s soul went, so I ignored my feelings.
We sat down for a few minutes until I realized that I was expected to go up to the coffin to pay my respects. I hadn’t been expecting that; I just thought I needed to be there to sit with Ginny or something. When someone signaled to my mother and me to go up there, I didn’t want to. But my mom indicated that we had to.
I approached the coffin with all the beautiful flowers in front of it hesitantly. When I peered into it, there she lay. I froze and just stared at her for what felt like an eternity. It was the most eerie feeling I had ever experienced. There was absolutely no movement, no brightness, just a scary stillness. Thick blonde hair and a rounded face with no expression lay there motionless before me. It looked like she had thick makeup on her face. It seemed to me that she would have been prettier without it. Her head was misshapen and large looking. I guessed it was from the operation. Perhaps they thought the makeup helped her look prettier. Besides, I was only about 15; what did I know? Also, this is MY memory; it may not reflect reality for my friend and her family.
After a few silent moments, I felt waves of panic wash over me. I wanted to jump out of my body and fly away to some place where things like this didn’t happen. Then after a minute or two, I had to move on to allow someone else to view her. I was relieved.
I don’t recall if I told Pam goodbye or not. I just knew I never wanted to go into another funeral home as long as I lived. Of course that was unrealistic thinking, but I hoped!
When we made it out the door, I deeply inhaled the cold air into my lungs, desperate for refreshment. It also felt good on my face, but as I exhaled, my head began to feel light. I rushed to the car and got in thrusting my cold hands between my knees to warm them. It was ironic that it was cold outside; seeing death had felt cold, too.
I didn’t talk about any of it on the way home, but I finally cried. On the car radio I heard a song called “Dream Weaver.” It talked about dreaming, and it carried a mellow melody. I let it take me somewhere far away in my imagination. To this day whenever I hear that song I immediately flash back to that frightening night. I see Pam’s sister in my mind’s eye lying dead in her coffin. It is one of the most vivid memories I have from that year of my life.