I have never been comfortable going to viewings before funerals. I've always been nervous and skittish whenever I go to funerals and have to go right next to the casket to see the family. Today I went to my great-aunt Vearis's funeral. My grandma, her youngest sister, was standing right next to Vearis's body, and grandma called me over to say good-bye to Vearis. I hardly even remember her, but I did it so grandma would feel better. Vearis was...hm...92? And my grandma, Mary Ila, is almost 82. I feel really badly for grandma. She and Vearis were super, super close. Grandma seems really shaky and unaware right now. She's the last one left from her family. All of her other brothers, sisters, and both parents have died. I hope she stays for a while longer. I'd miss her a lot.
I don't know what my problem is when it comes to death. At almost every funeral I've ever been to, I've almost cried but forced myself not to. I never go up to look into the casket, except in this case because I didn't want to hurt grandma's feelings. The worst time at a funeral was when my five-year-old neighbor was killed in an accident in his backyard. The medics put all of these medicines into his body to try and start his heart again, but they couldn't save Brett.
I used to baby-sit Brett and his sisters and brother every two weeks. When I saw him lying there, and everyone saying he looked like he was asleep, I felt like the boy in the book where his best friend is stung to death by bees. The boy is looking at his friend, and a lady behind him says, "He almost looks like he could be asleep." The boy nearly said out loud that his friend never slept on his back. He always curled up on his side with his mouth open and a blanket wrapped around his arm. That's how I felt. Brett never slept like that. And his face was all puffy and swollen from the medications. Ever since it's gotten worse. And today...Vearis was so think and skeletal. Like my Aunt Ruth. It's not how I want to remember them, but it just sticks out in my mind and it's all that I can see.
I think I'm scared of death. Not for myself personally, but for others. I'm afraid that I'll forget them, or my only memories will be of them lying there in a coffin, skin stretched tight and their eyes sunken. It terrifies me to see my sisters or my parents or a friend like that. Even now, my heart has starting pounding like mad thinking about it. But I can't stop thinking about it. I always think about death, and what it would be like to have someone missing at lunch or in the car. What it would be like for other people if I was missing. Would anyone care? And if it was someone I knew who died, would I notice after awhile? Would I forget? Sometimes it's like I want to forget. But I can't. I can't forget that stiff, cold husk lying in those frilly boxes. I try to remember other things, but that image keeps coming back.
I have to remind myself that they're somewhere better than they were here on Earth. My Aunt Ruth had cancer and was always in pain. Great-Aunt Vearis had terrible neck and jaw problems that couldn't be fixed medically, and she couldn't get around much. Brett would probably have been paralyzed if they could have saved him (a slide in his backyard fell on top of his neck and broke it). Chase would have been paralyzed or on machines for the rest of his life. All of the people I know would have been in some kind of pain.
Remember that. That's what I'll remember.