Ten Notes on Funerals

  1. Six years old, at my first funeral, I played too loudly with my cousins. Old maiden aunt, scandalized by childish antics, pinched arms and hissed that we should cry, that we didn’t love the deceased, that we stamped on his grave with our exuberance.
  2. Polar-Emotions: grief, joy, love, and hate. The gray area is hard to find. White, black, and red, floral-scent and salt. No one wants to look in the box, no one wants to look away.
  3. I dated an undertaker once. He told me the difficulty of meeting women in his profession – plenty were nice, but all cried. He smirked that pickup lines seemed inappropriate: “Hey baby, you make my heart beat. Buy you a drink?” “Honey, I can still fog a mirror. Wanna get some coffee?” I dared him to my door-step in tux and hearse.
  4. One high-school year was filled with funerals – cancer, car crash, old age, cancer, drowned. My wardrobe’s allotment of mourning-wear doubled.
  5. When I first starting to read, I mispronounced it FUNeral.
  6. Black is the only Black.
  7. My First Grief was when my pet goldfish died. I barely looked at him most days; dead = dearer. Sympathetic mommy helped bury him with rites and empty check box. I recovered after lunch.
  8. Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. In memoria æterna erit justus, ab auditione mala non timebit.
  9. The funerals of strangers are the worst – when you have to face the pain of others with no ache of your own to hide behind.
  10. Weaving between strange legs, searching for my mother – My arms find her waist – I can’t know it’s pain and shock emanating from her hands that drives me back – I think only, she has gone, too.
The End

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