Funerals are expected to be sad, somber events. Amongst the tears, and snot-filled tissues, you expect to hear trickles of the occasional laughter and see the half-smiles.
What most people neglect to realize is that funerals can also be all kinds of messy.
That’s the thing about dying, you’re no longer there to smooth the rough edges of tumultuous relationships, or to feed whatever meaningless platitudes you normally would be able to give.
When you’re not there to do damage control. It all comes out.
Trent was a pilot. He traveled a lot and was rarely ever home, but he loved his family–at least that’s what his wife told me.
She didn’t hesitate to show me a montage of photos of him with his children, beautiful, young and bright-eyed.
“They’re all grown now”, she told me, flecks of pride pushing through her sullen expression.
On the day of the service, I recognized her 3 adult children, spitting images of their father, quietly flanking their mother and waiting for the service to begin.
I noticed something else as well. Near the back of the chapel, another woman stood with a young man, also bearing a striking resemblance to the rest of the immediate family.
I wasn’t the only one who saw them.
“HOW DARE YOU COME HERE!” A voice bellowed from the front of the chapel. It was the wife of the deceased…and she was livid.
She barreled down the center aisle and flung the cup of coffee she had in her hand towards the woman….except it didn’t hit the woman.
It hit me.
I frantically began to search for the senior funeral director, Mr. Jones, hoping he’d offer some assistance, but when my eyes finally found his, he was nearly doubled over in laughter.
Annoyed and dripping in coffee, I made my way over to him.
“Their bill is paid baby, this ain’t none of your business. As long as they don’t burn the building down, we leave people to their own mess.”
I never got the stains out of that white shirt. Thanks for the memories.