Before and After – Day 4, part 1 – Visit to a Funeral Home

(Start HERE  for full “Before and After” series)

There are several key elements of this day and I will post in 2 parts.
Today is “A Visit to A Funeral Home”
Sitting on “The Thinking Couch”

November 9, 2005:   I have been dreading this.  I have done this before and I don’t want to do it again.  Later that day I wrote about it in my journal and months later, as I worked on his memorial album, it “fell into” free verse –

A Visit To A Funeral Home
We have to go see him, but it’s not him.
Why must I see him like this?
I know I must.
But my legs don’t want to move.
My feet do not want to take me
down this hall
to where his body lies.
I wish it was a long hall, but it’s a
short one.

I tell Galen I can’t do this,
knowing I will . . . I must.
Galen wraps his strong arm around me.
He says I can . . .I must.
A quick turn to the left and we are at the door.
I am the last one in.

He’s lying on a table – just a table.
Carol says “Why didn’t you just put him on a couch.
That would be more natural.”
We smile through our tears.
The Prim and Proper Funeral Director looks startled.
Gordon would have appreciated
the attempt at humor,
And probably would have had a joke himself
but he’s not “here.”

I notice his hair . . .
but thinning
and strawberry blond hair –
Just like his Hertzler cousins.
I wish I had thought to ask or a lock of it.

I see his bushy mustache.
Carol always tried to get him to trim it.
He looks like he is just sleeping.
But how can my talkative brother sleep
with all these people here?
Surely he’d have something to say.
He ALWAYS has something to say.

Maybe he’ll open his eyes . . .
And it will all be a “Bad Dream.”

Megan says, “Who will walk me down the aisle?”
Her mother says ‘”Brian will.”
We leave him – but it’s not really him.
How will we ever live without him?

Carol says Gordon would lay on the couch . . . stare at the ceiling until he solved a problem or planned his project and then he’d go do it.  She says there is an ink stain on the couch from one of his pens during his “thinking” time.  Maybe she won’t remove it! 

click HERE to continue to “Day 4, Part 2”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *