Final Goodbyes

Yesterday, the fellow client who passed away was temporarily moved from the morgue into her room in the care home. I went to have a quick look yesterday evening. This morning, since I had finished my polymer clay butterfly and flower, I went back into her room and set them at her remembrance table next to her coffin. My assigned home staff was with me and asked me whether I wanted to touch her coffin, the things she had with her and even her hand. I did. Her hand was cold, which was the final reminder I needed that she’s really dead.

This afternoon, we went back into her room to pick a rose from her remembrance bouquet. We then went outside and stood in a circle with all other clients and staff who were close to this client and the family. Everyone laid a rose on the coffin. The client’s brother and our support coordinator spoke a few words and then the coffin was put into the funeral car and driven away. My assigned staff cried a few tears. I did feel sad too, but I couldn’t cry.

This is the first time I’ve ever been this close to a deceased person. I mean literally, as in touching her hand. When my maternal grandfather had died in 1995, I did pay him a quick visit at the funeral center, but was only able to have a quick look and with how little vision I had back then, I probably could hardly make out what he looked like. With my other grandparents, I didn’t ever get to see them while in their coffins. I had originally thought I wouldn’t benefit from visiting this client in her room because I couldn’t see her, but I actually did benefit. I was able to say my final goodbyes. Now I know she’s really gone.

Written for E.M.’s Random Word Prompt #7: “Remembrance”.

How Will I Be Remembered?

Last week, my husband’s grandma died. The burial was on Thursday. It was okay. It however did get me thinking about how I will be rememberd and how I wish I would be remembered when I pass.

If my father’s still alive when I die, he may want to speak at my funeral. Not sure though, as he hardly speaks to me now. Then again, I guess speaking about someone is different from speaking to them. He may recall our positive experiences playing and learning together in my childhood. I will definitely remember those if I am to speak at his funeral.

He would probably have the decency not to go into my disappointing him with my adult life choices. I mean, I know I majorly disappoint him by being in long-term care, but he doesn’t voice it even now that I’m still alive. He isn’t one to talk negatively about the deceased though, I’d think. I can’t remember whether he spoke at my paternal grandpa’s funeral though and he didn’t at my grandma’s.

My mother would most likely be too self-conscious and too emotional to speak. I mean, she cried when I got married even without having to speak during the ceremony and she didn’t hold it together when speaking at my sister’s wedding. As for funerals, she spoke at my maternal grandfather’s funeral but then came running towards me for comfort. I was eight-years-old.

My sister may want to speak, if for no other reason then to fill a void. She did at my wedding (which was lovely, mind you). She spoke at my grandma’s funeral and it was amazing. I loved her sense of humor.

Ever since hearing the song, I’ve said I wanted I’m a Survivor by Reba McEntire playing at my funeral. I do. Even though it wasn’t written about an actual preemie and most of the facts about this hypothetical woman’s life don’t apply to me, the sentiment does. At least, that’s what I hope. I guess people could take its meaning two ways: either I’m the survivor who’s now an inspiration or the former preemie who wasn’t given a chance but somehow lived anyway. There’s a difference. I’m not sure how to convey it though. What I mean is, the focus can be on the negative of my not been given a chance or on the positive of my having given meaning to my life.

My husband wouldn’t want to dig up the past, I guess. He didn’t like this with his grandma’s funeral either, but then again neither did the deceased. She was a very upbeat type of person who didn’t like talking about negative aspects of the past. I guess I wouldn’t be as offended by people speaking a lot about the past when remembering me. Then again, I’d love it if my husband remembered the positives of what will hopefully still be a long life together.