I held my hat serenely, wishing this was not true. My mother couldn’t have died. How could she have? She died when we most needed her. She let us down, betrayed our family.
“...and now we pray together to wish this woman peace, forever on Earth and in Heaven...”
The priest’s voice droned on. He was so boring! I wondered why I decided to hold this funeral in the first place; it was so boring that it just couldn’t be a dedicated ceremony in remembrance of my mother.
“Amen.” People echoed from all around. I snapped out of my thoughts with a start, and tried to say it too, but was too late.
The priest glared at me as if I had done some deadly sin, then it seemed to enter his mind that it was my mother who had just died, and it was her funeral that he was now attending. His gaze drifted away to the rest of the crowd, obviously trying to find some unsuspecting victim to glare at.
My poor mother. What was she doing up in heaven now, I wondered. Maybe she was rejoicing at her death with her ghostly friends, but she wouldn’t do that.
Maybe she was with Father?
My first tears throughout the whole ceremony dropped. They came down faster and fatter the more I thought about Father, like some greedy pigs feeding off my sad thoughts.
“And now, we will invite members of the Trafford family to come and put the first handfuls of dirt upon thy deceased ones grave.”
I came forward first, picking up a handful of dirt from a random patch of ground, then slowly let the dirt trickle through my fingers and into its final resting place, above my mother’s coffin. I let the dirt get stuck under my fingernails, meaning more cleaning later to get me looking like a respectable lady once more - I simply didn’t care.
I stood there, silent, staring down at Mother’s grave, looking at her coffin. I couldn’t even claim that it was a shiny new coffin: it was a recycled one that was previously used for an old professor.
There were pictures of cherubs carved on the top, with intricate bordering intertwined in the cherubs arrows. Their halos were perfect little circles of wood carved atop the cherubs’ little heads.
My pieces of dirt had fallen on top of one of the cherub’s arrows, and had scattered a little bit to the edge of the coffin.
I resisted the urge to take another handful of dirt to throw in there, so I could cover up the Cherubs’ smiling faces. Why should they be happy in a time like this?
Finally, after what seemed like an age of standing there, I retreated back into the crowd, my head bowed reverently.
Next up was Alexander, who murmured a silent prayer, then Tom, who was the weaker of the two twins, so he spent less time with Mother while throwing the handful of dirt upon her coffin.
“Now for any friends of relatives of the deceased one,” the priest declared.
Peter stepped up first, before anyone else had the chance to, then Mrs Baker, and the rest of the townsfolk. It was a long affair, and by the time all our ‘friends’ had thrown a handful of dirt upon Mother’s coffin, the undertaker only had to throw a handful of dirt upon it himself to fill up the grave.
I gave up trying to be serene and peaceful as soon as everyone left for their own comfortable homes, free of any grief or sorrow. My tears weren’t fast now, they could be more described as a torrent of water gushing down in rivulets all over the cliff face of my face.
My body was wracked with sobs, and I slowly crumpled onto the ground, the grief overwhelming me.
Finally, after sitting there wallowing in my own pity for what seemed like an eternity, I stood up and brushed myself off as if nothing had happened. I imagined that all the specks of dirt that had gotten onto my dress was another piece of sorrow that I could brush off without a moments hesitation. But inside, I knew that I couldn’t just brush off my mother like that. I’d have to talk to her in my dreams for weeks before I could fully recover from the effects of her dying. Even then, it would be hard to forget her completely.
She had caused so much sadness by just dying. It would never wear off, in my opinion. Never in my whole lifetime.
Why did she have to cause us so much sadness? Couldn’t she see that we were sad enough already?
Damn her, for making everyone suffer like this. Damn her, for dying when we most needed it. Damn her for everything that she had caused on account of her dying. Damn -
Then I caught myself. It wasn’t her fault that she died. In fact, it could well be someone else’s fault, but I pulled my mind away from that aspect, trying to not let fear overtake my feelings. If I did, I would be no use to anyone. Especially my own little brothers, who were my dearest things to me now.
I had to care for them the best I could: they deserved it.