Forever Gone, Not Forgotten
Why? Why so suddenly? It seems like only yesterday we were talking about my Eagle Scout project. You told me how profound my project was; How much it would impact the lives of every person living in that nursing home on Water Street. Now I look at you laying here before me; Your eyes closed up and lifeless, Your hands crossed across your withered old chest, your magnanimous heart finally at rest. Peace. You look as though you are in absolute peace. It was sad to see you go, but it was happy when I remembered that your suffering was finally over. My best friend had come with me to the house. She is the one you always told me was absolutely beautiful; her big brown eyes, her being about the same height as me, her impeccable fashion sense, and her undeniable friendship with me. You especially loved her name; Nicole. You always wanted us to be together, no matter how long that took. I guess you won’t be here to see that if it happens. That was tough for me to stomach. She noticed this, and walked over to my side. She wrapped her arm around my torso, and pulled me in close to her. While I followed suit, she leaned in and kissed my right cheek, non-verbally reminding me that everything would be alright. I looked back at the body on the bed one last time; Mrs. Walsh looked as peaceful as she ever could have been. As I turned back around, Nicole took my hand in a loving manner as a single tear fell from my sadness soaked eyes. Together, we walked out of the house with me back to my car. This day had come and passed, yet the future would only get harder.
Why? Why is this day here? I never wanted to see this day come. Why is this shirt so stiff? I feel as though my neck is getting a bear hug from a boa constrictor. Why is this shirt and tie black? Mrs. Walsh always liked brighter colors. Her favorites were the spring colors; Yellows, Greens, Pinks, and Lavender. That was her favorite; Lavender. It was also her favorite scent of candle. This strip of fabric hanging from the center of my black collar; It is just too dark for remembering someone so bright. Why did this day of remembrance have to be matched with such a gloomy and depressing color? I look in the mirror. Look at me; All black, except for the white invitation with scarlet Calligraphic lettering. Mrs. Walsh always had a love for the exquisite things in life, like Calligraphy and fine china. I set down the invitation, and put a dab of American Crew Pomade into my hair. I then plunged my hands into a sink filled with water and washed out my eyes. I then realized that something stood out against the immense amount of black possessed by my funeral attire; my eyes were pure white. They somehow were holding back hundreds of forgotten memories, hours of teary eyes, and several late nights talking to the Walsh family and the church community she belonged to. I looked down at my watch, and realized that the time was fast approaching. I grabbed my car keys, put on a pair of Aviator pilot glasses, and walked out into the sunshine.I smiled when I felt the weather kiss my forehead. The day was warm, bubbly,and welcoming, much like Mrs. Walsh. I turned on my car, and drove to my favorite girl’s house to pick her up. Nicole opened the door, and greeted me with a warm embracement, and a soft kiss on the cheek. She looked absolutely exquisite in her black dress. The black flower in her hair accentuated her perfect almond shaped eyes. Mrs. Walsh was right; She was absolutely beautiful. We walked back to my car, and drove over to the church. The day had come, despite how much I had tried to avoid it. The day had come to say goodbye. We got out of the car, and she took my hand as we walked up the granite steps of the church. I could smell the incense from the middle of the stairs. The scent of lavender was falling out of the doors. That made me smile a little bit. Mrs. Walsh would be happy that people would remember her with her favorite scent; Lavender.
Why? Why is she laying down at the front of the church in that air-tight wooden container? Although her torso and face are fully exposed, I can’t even imagine how restricted she must feel. Nicole and I walked down the right aisle of the church and took our seats in the third pew from the front of the church. As we sat down, a priest walked by, pendulating a small orb of lavender scented incense. As a cloud of the smoke rose up and tickled my nose, a tear fell from my eyes. Nicole gripped my hand and held on tightly to show me a sign of protection and affection as I progressed through this surge of depression and memories. Just as I grabbed the handkerchief out of my jacket pocket and wiped the tear away from my cheek, the mass was beginning. The priest and altar servers slowly walked down the center aisle of the church to the soft and slow organ ballads being played by the pianist at the back of the church. As I looked at the priest walking by my pew, I caught a glimpse of Rod, Mrs. Walsh’s widower. His eyes were redder than the flowers that surrounded his wife’s photo at the front of the church. He sat amongst several family and friends, constantly attending to his sadness and need for help.The mass went very well; The priest reflected back on several of the things that Mary Walsh had helped with in the church community. This went on for 30 minutes, but unfortunately there was not enough time to explain all that she had done. This angered me slightly, but I realized that it was much more than several people can honestly admit they have done to help the less fortunate.
Why? Why is that box being carried out of the church and placed onto the extra-extended Cadillac bed? This is all happening too fast for me. I watched as Rod kissed a particular spot on the casket. Then it occurred to me; That spot is where Mary’s lips were inside the casket. It made me sad to see that he was kissing the love of his life good night for the final time. He also noticed this, and turned and walked slowly back to the massive crowd. He began to cry as he got into a black 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe following the hearse to the grave site. Nicole and I walked arm-in-arm out of the church back to my 2006 Mercury Milan. As Nicole sat down in the passenger seat, I adjusted the small flag on my window. The delicate white writing stood out amongst the blue of the flag; The word “Funeral” waved in the wind as I started my car, and followed the procession to the grave site.
Why? Why is this spot so beautiful? This spot for Mary’s grave was absolutely perfect,. Under the shade of a small cherry blossom tree, and next to a statue of Saint Peter, her favorite Saint. The men carried the casket into the graveyard and placed it onto the lowering mechanism as I observed the spot of Mary’s eternal resting place. The priest began his sermon as the masses gathered around the podium. As the sermon went on, I looked up to the heavens, knowing that Mary was watching down on all of us. I noticed that the clouds had turned from large clumps of white fluff into small, wispy congregations of light, air filled cotton. Mary’s youngest nephew said that the clouds looked like newly- made cotton candy. That made me laugh. As the funeral went on, I could tell that the mood of the mourners had increased significantly. The emotions no longer were full of sadness and dismay, but rather full of life and rejoicing, remembering the life of such a wonderful person as Mary Walsh. When the lowering of the casket came about, there was a short time of absolute silence, except for the soft rolling of the pulley systems placing the casket in Mary’s eternal resting place. One by one, shovels of dirt were cast into the whole, including one thrown by me, and one by Nicole. Eventually the grave was filled and covered in a mass of flowers that the mourners had brought. As the congregation filed out, I prayed one last time for the sake of Rod’s well-being, and then I walked back to my car with Nicole. As I drove, questions started to clutter my mind.
Why? Why is life so beautiful? Why is such a beautiful thing, full of laughs and wonderful people, cut short by a time as dark and depressing as a funeral. A funeral; something so full of cries and misery that seemingly overwhelms the rejoicing of the person’s life as we remember them. Well, a funeral is merely a time for remembering that wonderful life, but why do we cry at this time? Even more do we cry than when we first find out that the person has passed? We cry not for the act of dying, but for the beautiful life that preceded it. We cry over the little things; Broken fine china, the eminent scent of Lavender; Even spilled milk sometimes has tears shed over it. We don’t cry for someone being gone, but for the memories that have been made, and the memories that will never be made, coming to an immediate halt, by an unpredictable force, known as the act of passing on.
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