Friday, December 15, 2006

G-d! Death is D-pressing!

A woman who worked for me over an eight year period up and died this last weekend. People I used to work with called to tell me. Visiting hours (?) were today. I don't even know where to begin with this.

I did cover this before - but I don't like funereal type settings (I know, who does?) even in the best settings. This was not one of those settings.

To start with, I had to Goooogle Map the funeral home. It was not an area of town with which I was that familiar, but seemed straight forward. I must have circled the block 4-5 times. There were no addresses posted on any of the buildings in the area and the name of the funeral home must have been in 2 point font! To the unobservant eye, you would have assumed this a soon to be abandoned building. An old store front that had aluminum siding put all over it....and I mean ALL over it....including whatever windows it used to possess.

Initially I parked in the small lot, which was nothing more than a double-wide driveway. I soon realized I'd be blocked in, for g-d knows how long. I opted to park on the scary street. To me, illegally parked or a broken-in or stolen car was better than being stuck at a funeral home.

As I was walking up to the door (which still had the Masterlock dangling off it - a nice touch!), I ran into some of my former employees who were clearly shaken with the death. I went in and immediately ran into another former worker. She was annoying as hell when she reported to me - and clearly nothing had changed. She was needy. Anything that could be said in 10 words, she's use 100. Whenever I'd get my voicemail and it would start with the automated message saying "two minutes", which was the maximum recording time, I knew it was her. In the three minutes (or was it hours?) I talked with her, I got her thoughts on life and death and how all the petty stuff just doesn't matter - and then her thoughts on her new boss. All of the sudden, I wanted to be the one in the casket!

I signed in and noticed the lack of activity in this hall. The board in the "lobby" clearly indicated that there were two viewings. But I heard nothing nor saw any movement. From where I stood between the two rooms, I could see Pam laid out. I peaked my head in the room and one. Not just no one I knew, but NO ONE. Where was the family? Where was the funeral director? There was an organ and organ music piped in overhead, but no organist.

Looking around the room, I was just so sad. I'd say I don't know how to describe it, but I think I can. Imagine the house you grew up in, with the unfinished basement that was never cleaned out. And that your parents moved out 12 years ago. And no one had ever moved in. This was two steps below that. The unmatched metal folding chairs were THE nicest thing in the room. The embalming room at Fisher & Sons was nicer. THAT is how bad!

I don't do dead - not close up. It's just not my thing. In reality, I'm glad no one else was there, as I didn't have to do my dance of talking with folks and avoiding the big white coffin pink elephant in the room. The casket seemed 'nice' from 20 ft away, but even from where I was you could see someone had put flowers in it. Dying flowers. Oh, and stitched (?) into the casket lining on the inner lid (in pink) was "In G-d's Hands". UGH! Oh oh oh oh!!! And all caskets, of course, rest on a cart for easier transport, but don't most have some type of skirt around it? You know - so it's not sitting out in the room looking like this:
I hung around for what seemed like forever, but was probably less than ten minutes. I passed the time by flipping through the sign-in book to see who from my old work had been by. Not many. As I did this, a few people came in whom I didn't know. They start asking me about the person in the other room and about their I stood there in my dark suit, white shirt and black shoes. OMG!!! They think I'm the funeral director!!!!!

I decided right then and there that Pam doesn't care if I stuck around or not. I don't think I'm even showing up to my funeral!


Anonymous said...

Gawd, I swear that I will never be laid out for all to see like that. I think it is just barbaric to have an open casket. I want to be cremated and cast into water someplace. I too hate funerals. That sounded like a really bad one. (Worst ever?) Not that any are really good. As much as possible they should be a celebration of the person's life. The last church ceremony I went to the priest kept getting the 27 year old decedent's name wrong. That was pretty awful. At some point everyone just yelled out his name, Justin. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

No viewing for me either!
Cremation's for me too! Don't want all those people gaulking at my dead self!
Hate funerals!