To my family: This is how my mind remembers. If you remember these moments differently, please, don’t tell me. I want these precious images to stay “mine”.
I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But I always thought I’d see you again. ~James Taylor
The funeral home experience~ In the days following Daddy’s death, the whole family was together. We had to dress up. We went to the funeral home. I was lead into a large room. The far end of this room was filled with all kinds of floral arrangements and plants. They were arranged around my father’s casket. Lying serenely in the casket, was my father.
Reminder: I had not seen my father in two or three days.
As my family made our way down the isle separating, what seemed to my eyes to be never ending rows of chairs. All took their turn, stepping up to the casket. Viewing my father’s body. As my turn arrived, my mother lifted me up. I looked at my father. Very confused, I asked, “Why is Daddy sleeping?”. She answered, “Remember? I told you Daddy went to heaven.”. Still not comprehending what that meant, I leaned forward and touched his chest, in an attempt to wake him. I pulled my hand back as though it had been bitten. I anxiously said to my mother, “All the warm is gone.”. She hugged me, and set me back down.
Reminder: I still had not had any outward emotional response, other than being thoroughly confused, to any of the happenings of the past few days.
At some point in the duration of “The Funeral Home” experience, I climbed onto my eldest brother’s lap. He pulled me in and gave me a huge bear hug. At the time, brother had a very full beard. As I was playfully smooshed up into his neck, I got a whisker in my eye. It HURT! So much so, that I started crying… hard. There was a flurry of adult reaction. I can only assume, that my crying was interpreted as though I had realized what “Going to Heaven” meant. However, I couldn’t get anyone to look at my eye.
I can still see that room. The enormity, to a six year old’s view. Everyone crying and blowing noses. Still, able to feel that confusion. Honestly, this is something I wish I could forget. But then I would have one less piece to the puzzle. I suppose this would be one of those “Double edged Swords”. Hurts to remember, but it is one of the few links I have of my own memories. Can’t have one with out the other.