23 August 2016

Observer at a Funeral

There I am all decked out and peaceful. They got me looking pretty good. The black suit really flattered me. I’ve attended funerals for my grandparents, my dad, uncles, aunts, in-laws and even a few friends. The nice thing was that I could always go home. I was still alive and, as sad as I felt for the deceased, there was that little part of me that was happy, happy that it wasn’t me. Well this time it is me. Me dead. Deceased. No more. The bucket's been kicked and I never even got around to making a bucket list.

Poor Evelyn, a widow at 45. We’d nearly divorced a few years ago but worked things out. It was a pretty good marriage. Now she’s got to raise Connor and Jenna alone. Oh well, they’re both in high school so they’re nearly grown. They’ll go off to college soon enough and Evelyn will be all alone in that big house. I imagine she’ll look for someone else. Only natural. She’ll do all right though, the insurance money will keep her going and the house is paid for. Nope, no financial worries.

Really though I’m too young to be dead. Stupid brain aneurysm. Hell, Chuck had one of those and lived, but mine had to rupture right away and with me out on a hike. What shitty luck. Was a year away from making it to half a century. Now it’s all over. All the family, all the studying, all the friends, all the work all gone now. What was it for? Maybe now I’ll get some answers and this’ll all make sense. Doubt it though. How can you make sense of a life cut short, if not in its prime at least with a helluva lot of gas left in the tank? I was good for another 13 years or so of work. I could have, hell should have, seen my kids graduate college and start careers and families of their own. Now I’ll never see any grandchildren I might have had. And Evelyn and I were going to go to the Bahamas next Winter. Was really looking forward to it.

But somehow I’m not so sad. I just am. No real emotions to speak of. And say, where the hell exactly am I? I’m looking down at the funeral but from where? And I’ve got no body or form or substance. Yet I’m not at all bothered about it. Things feel like they’re supposed to be this way. I wonder what comes next? Is there an afterlife I’m headed for? Am I going to see my family and friends who died before me? Don’t feel in any rush for anything right now. No control but no worries. I just am.

Nice turnout for the funeral. Jesus Christ there’s Lance Godard. He was my army buddy. Haven’t seen that son of a gun in 20 years. Nice that he could make it. All the relatives are there of course. Including Mom. Poor thing outlived a child. This has gotta be hard on her. My sister Kathleen looks distraught. Well, it's natural, we've always been close.

Most of the people from the office are there, all the ones I worked closely with. Except for Howard. That son of a bitch. Hell, I wouldn’t have gone to his funeral. Burns me up that he has the satisfaction of out living me. He’s a nasty cuss. Aww will you look at that, that cute young secretary Geena is there. Heck she’s only been at the firm a month. All the men were hot for Geena, including me. And she’s half my age. Aww it was innocent enough. I never thought of cheating on Evelyn. Couldn’t have done it. Not even when we were having trouble. I’m just not made that way. Or wasn’t, more accurately. Yeah I sure sowed my wild oats. By golly before me and Evelyn settled down I played the field and then some. I wonder if Connor will be the same way. I don’t think the boy has been on a date yet, and him 16. I wonder if he’s queer? Well if he is it doesn’t matter to me. Certainly not from where I am now. He looks sharp today and he also looks like he's in a state of shock. Jenna just keeps ballin', my little princess.

Geez I wonder if I’ll be able to keep up with the NFL season? Probably not, but who knows?  Hell if you’d told me week ago I was gonna die I’d have been damned pissed about missing football but come to think of it I really don’t care. Everything feels all right, like it should be.

Darn it, Evelyn looks pretty miserable, poor girl. Must be a shock. I know it would have knocked me cold if she’d been the one to die. She’ll be all right though. That Evelyn is a tough ole gal. If anyone can take is and be okay, she can. It’ll be rough on the kids but they’ve got so much going for them and such bright futures that it’s no use worrying. Not that I can worry. I can sure think things and even have an awareness of emotions and how they used to feel but I really just kinna feel here right now. Present but not. And I’m so damn calm.

Jupiter, my old dog. I hadn’t thought of him in years. I was only 11 when he died. What made me think of him? Say I never had my life pass before my eyes, at least not that I can remember. It all happened so fast and I was gone. I had a few seconds of fear but no sense that I was dying until it had already happened.

Who’s this minister they got talking about me? I don’t even know the bastard. He’s probably saying some rote stuff that’s standard at funerals. What’s the point? I wonder if anyone else will speak? No sooner asked then answered, there’s Todd. He was the best friend a guy could have. Really. I can’t hear a goddamned word anyone is saying but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that whatever Todd is saying is going over well. He’s gotta way with words and is just the type of guy to keep his cool in this kind of situation. There’s my boss Old Man Rawlings saying a few words. That’s darn nice of him. He could be a pain in the keister but he was a square dealing guy and a good boss. Well look at that, Kathleen is going to talk. Geez I wish I could hear what she was saying.

Looks like that’s it. Sure was nice. I’m glad I got to see it. Wonder what else I’ll get to see? What’s this? I’m going somewhere, what the heck is this all about? Can’t wait to see.

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