D. H. Clair
If anyone had told me I’d be attending my own funeral as a guest, I’d have said they had a few screws loose. Yet here I am. It must be my funeral because my entire family’s sitting in the first two pews; I’m the only one missing. Why else would they be here? Funerals and weddings, that’s all they come to church for. It’s a wonder the roof hasn’t caved in.
My granddaughter’s in the second pew with a great looking dude. Must be the fiancé I never got to meet. Looks like I’ll miss her wedding—bummer.
That must be me in that stupid, tiny box. I admit I consented to being fried, under duress. It was the cheaper way to go, but I never liked the idea. One third of me is probably lying on a dung heap somewhere. Not that it matters now. At least I haven’t gone straight to Hell, though a few people suggested I make the trip.
I don’t know what I’m doing here; I must have a mission or something before I receive my “sentence.” I wonder—does everyone get to attend his/her own funeral?
Aww, my granddaughter’s crying. For real—who knows? She did that at one of my weddings, too. She was seven when I married number four. She sobbed uncontrollably. If I could have foreseen the future I’d have been sobbing too, or at least running out of the room. Somebody asked her why she was so unhappy. “Because Mimi’s moving away,” she sobbed—a little drama queen even then. In truth she thought I was quite the pain in the ass when she was growing up.
It’s a pretty nice turnout considering most of my generation has already hit the dirt, so-to-speak. Oh—Father just announced the eulogy. Now, who? Oh. Joe’s getting up. Joe’s my son-in-law, a really nice guy. (My son’s husband. Does the term dysfunctional family come to mind?) I get to hear my eulogy; how cool is that?
“All of you here probably know that Mom was a writer, that she realized a dream when she published her first book. Yet I wonder how much you know about the woman that she was.” Uh-oh. Here it comes. “Her book, to me, was just another step in an incredible life, because sometimes our dreams can obscure the reality that surrounds us daily and sometimes we need to see ourselves through the eyes of another.
“Mom had a very tender heart; some might even call her a “doormat” Yep, my mother’s words, well, not exactly; horse’s ass was her usual description.as she seemed unable to utter the word “no,” and gave far more than her share of help. Mom evolved from the “Greatest Generation” that formed much of the woman she was. If I had to reduce her to words it would be something like, she exuded refined elegance, was very genteel and proper, Wow! He never saw me in my finer moments. My husband would cringe at the occasional scatological expletive and remark, “My sugar is so refined.” but also very worldly, “Other worldly” now. open-minded to a degree and incredibly curious. Some might call it nosey.“Her life was a testament to the power we each possess to face our own challenges and still be able to dictate how we generally live our lives. I also believe that she served as a valuable reminder to all generations, that you are never too old to follow your dreams, as dreams are what propel our future. That was her motto: “It’s never too late.”
It’s a bit late now. She was the foundation that anchored her family together. Nice metaphor.
“We can learn much from Dahris, because like those of us in the HIV community, she lived with very real challenges in her life, yet she never let her health deter her from attaining her dreams.
“I have spoken before on how I believe that each of our lives represents a tapestry, with different threads that carry our traits and weave the lives that we live. Each person in our life weaves his own thread through our living tapestry and in doing so they form additional bonds, some briefly, others forever. Dahris was the thread that wove through our “family,” intersecting, influencing and continually weaving her “thread” through the tapestry that we have become—the thread that anchored our family, and as such, she will always remain the thread that binds. I can think of no greater legacy.”
For once I’m speechless. I never knew Joe felt that way. Uh oh. Show’s over; they’re filing out now— Suddenly I feel very light, as if I’m floating—I am floating—They’re getting farther away. Good bye, good bye—I love you all. They can’t hear me. What will happen to me now?
I suddenly found myself in another place. I looked around for someone to help me “cross over,” a member of my family, maybe, but I appeared to be alone.
“Where am I?”
The voice came from behind me. I turned to see a man in a white suit. He wore his gray hair on the longish side, but not unattractive.
“Oh! You startled me.”
“Limbo? Purgatory I expected, but Limbo? I thought they did away with that one.”
“If they have the news hasn’t reached me yet.”
“Who are you, the Ghost of Christmas Past?” I regretted the quip as soon as it left my lips.
“You may call me Peter.”
“Peter? THE Peter?” Oh, Lord. Me and my big mouth. “Should I kneel or something?” I sank down on my zipper knees without a thought as to how I’d get back up. I’d say his laugh was heavenly, but I realized this was no joking matter. He reached out his hand and drew me up.
“No, just an underling.”
“Is this the usual procedure for the dead?”
“Not for everyone.”
“Many times in your life you have expressed the wish to live your life over.”
“That’s because I made such a mess of it the first time. Wait a minute—you heard me?”
“It’s in your file in the Book of Life.”
“It’s moot now, wouldn’t you say?”
“The Powers that Be have decreed that your wish be granted.”
“Are you kidding?” He looked much like an indulgent parent with a naughty child. I sobered. “No, of course you’re not. You mean, I actually get to go back and do it right this time?”
“The choice will be yours.”
“Hot damn.” I clapped my hand over my mouth. “Oops, sorry. I slip once in a while.”
“I suppose that’s in the Book of Life, too. Where do we start; I mean, how does this work? I don’t seem to have a body, at least not one I can see.”
“You will have a body when you get there.”
“Peter, is your last name
“Shall we get started?”
“We? Are you going with me?”
“I’ll escort you to your destination. The rest is up to you.”
“How far back are we going?”
“How far would you like?”
“I’d like to be young and single again, with all my options open.”
“Your wish is granted.”
“Will I be the same person? I mean, with the same talents as before?”
“You will be you.”
“I can’t believe it.”
“There is one condition.”
“I knew there had to be a catch.”
“You will have no memory of your previous life.”
“That’s not fair. Suppose I make the same mistakes?”
“You have the opportunity to relive your life. How you do it is up to you.”
I figured I’d better not look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth. “Will I see you again?”
“I’ll be around.”
“She’s opening her eyes.” It was a male voice. My vision was blurred, but he looked familiar.
“Where am I? What happened? I feel—funny.”
“You’re in the parish hall. You fainted.” It was Steve, the main attraction at St. Mary’s Minstrel Show.
I remembered then. We were in the show together. That’s where we met.
“I never fainted before.”
“You were only out for a few minutes. It is hot in here. I think I should take you home.”
“I don’t want to be a bother. My dad is picking me up at 10.”
“We’ll save him the trip. Come on, I’ll help you up.”
His arms felt comfortable as he lifted me off the floor. He was so thoughtful.
“Look, it’s early. How about we stop at the Milk Barn on the way and get a Sundae? Get to know each other better.”
“Actually, I feel much better. Maybe, if we call my dad.” I couldn’t resist the beautiful smile, the wavy brown hair. And he was the star of the show. “Okay, I’d like that, Steve.” He held my arm as we walked out of the hall. We passed a nice-looking older man as we went out the door. He looked at me and smiled. He seemed vaguely familiar. Oh well, probably looks like someone I know. He said something odd as he stepped aside to let us pass:
“Oh, no, Lord. Not again.” He shook his head and walked away.
# # #
No email received will ever be shared or listed without the express permission of the sender.