A few days before the holidays, my husband’s maternal family lost its matriarch. While the family is close and usually jovial, there was a hanging presence over the holidays. Last Sunday, she was laid to rest. I dislike funerals, and blessed as I am, I’ve only ever lost one person close to me, my great grandfather several years ago. Unintentionally due to the positioning of the casket and the architectural structure of the church, I found myself viewing her body. Something I would have preferred not to do. The few times I’ve attended funerals, and looked on at the viewing, the body looked nothing like the people I knew.
Miss Min, as she was called, looked like herself, which was another problem in itself. I was suddenly bombarded with feelings of sorrow and panic. Panic that she was stuffed in a tiny box, alone. Panic that we meant to, and had to leave her there. With no-one and no room to move about. Logically, my mind knew this was the natural process following death, but somehow, the concept wasn’t making sense. This was Miss Min, my hubby grandma. Though I, myself met her after the onset of Alzheimer’s, stories of the woman she was and continued to be even through her illness were never lacking. How does one just walk away? As predicted, much of the family broke down during the service. Watching my usually strong and logical husband bawl wasn’t something I enjoyed at all.
Nevertheless, I found myself inside my own head a lot over the weekend. As I watched her children give their tributes and looked at my own daughter. I saw the beauty that was her legacy. Family. A beautiful, upstanding and god-fearing family. She lived a full life and I would have loved the opportunity to talk with her about everything that her life was. Was she fulfilled? Did she feel her purpose complete when she looked at her family? What would she have done differently, if anything? Is she alright that the road ended for her where it did? Was there more after death? Does she her spirit have consciousness now that her body has ended its journey? Is she with her husband?
It’s scary to think that after all is said and done, there is nothing. That consciousness just ends. That everything you are and has done in your time on earth, simply… ends. Even if you believe in God and the process of judgment day, before that, what is there? Nothing?
Death, at least to us, the living is final. It’s the end all be all. Its what some believe to be the worst thing imaginable. It’s why those of unsavoury character believe they are powerful. Because they believe themselves superior, lording death as a weapon.
It’s humbling to know that at some point, a point we may never see coming, death has a duty to all of us.
Rest easy, Mrs. Appleton.