Sunday, February 10, 2013
Nothing could prepare me for this day! My nephew M and sister asked me to accompany my other nephew B to view T's body. T was 51 and passed in his sleep 4 days earlier. B was out of town at the time his dad T passed. T was my brother in law of 24 years. 24 years that is along time. I have so few memories of my sister before T. I loved and hated T. There are things I admired about him and things I despised. Jesus, how I wish I told T more of the things I admired. I wish he knew how I longed to be a better cook because of him. Actually the first cook in our family according to him. He said more than once that I was the only sister who could boil water. He made it look so damn easy. I wish he knew that I understood that he wasn't a perfect husband or father but I also knew that he gave it his best shot. I wish I'd told him we all are human. When they asked me to go, I didn't hesitant to say yes. When I heard about his passing and learned that most of the family had the option to see him one final time to say their goodbyes, I was sad that I didn't have the opportunity. This was my time. I needed and wanted that closure. Some finality. The period at the end of sentence or chapter in a book. Not to mention B was my adult nephew but some how he is still that little guy that lived with me and my family when I was still in junior high and he was a baby in diapers. I literally watched this kid grown up from diapers and bottles to marriage, kids, and divorce. Oh how he means more to me than just a nephew. Although he is grown and has handled things I can't imagine, I could NOT bear him going alone. No one or nothing could have prepared me for that day. The appointment to view was at 10 am. I wasn't exactly sure where we were going so we got there way early. As we pulled up to the light brown building with a flat roof, there wasn't anything special or flashy. Very industrial. No marking except for the address "2424." I was hoping and praying this was the right place. Two different online maps showed that address at different places. As we started to get out of the car, dread rushed over me. What will I see? T's soul had left that body four days earlier but I know a few things about science and decomposing. What will I say? What's the appropriate response? I have never read or even heard of a book or newspaper column that explains this situation. No Dear Abby advice. Nothing. I am on my own. Put on my big girl pants and wing it. Even though deep down I am a chicken. A coward. Not equipped for much of what life throws at me. Oh no what will I see inside this building? Will I be able to forget it? The front door was a typical glass door most businesses have. The only thing different is this one was mirrored and locked. We pushed a intercom button. After what seems like 20 minutes a balding skinny man opened the door and asked if we were there for the viewing. As we followed the man inside, I was desperately scanning the room trying to get a sense of what to expect. Oh no can I change my mind? Should I ask B if he changed his? Is that rude? The man told us to sit and let them get ready. We sat down on a leather couch. The air smelled like bleach. As soon as we sat B laid his head on my shoulder. Oh yes God I can do this. I can hold. I can love. I can comfort. My flesh wanted to run yet my heart wanted closure and be a rock for my family. The man came back and said they were ready. By ready, he meant T was on a sterile metal table draped with a blue blanket. His head was laying on a white sterile pillow without a pillow case. Now it was personal I could see his face. There laid T. There was no doubt. Out of respect and privacy for my family I'll spare the detailed description. Part of me was glad I was able to see him. There laid T's body (I believe he spirit and heart were long gone. What I was viewing was his earthy vehicle. His heavenly body is perfect and not deteriorating from his MD.) None the less, he was a son, father, husband, friend, uncle, cousin, and the list goes on but now at the end of that list is dead. In another room I could heard two men talking about a delivery. I assume it was a body they were dropping off. It was clear from what I saw that this was a place where they also cremated bodies. This was just another day at the office for these two men. Yet, here I am with my nephew viewing T. T was special to someone. Special to his family, friends, wife, neighbors and to God. That is when it all became too much for me. Here I am with B and that body is his dad's. It as a hard reality. I tried to find my happy place. Which for me is humor. If only I could laugh I'd feel better. Nothing seemed funny. What should I say? What should I do? What is an appropriate response? All I could manage was to hug B and rub his back. Is that enough? Dear God this child is hurting. Help me help him. Who failed to teach me what to do in this situation? Why didn't they? Do others have this experience or I am one of a chosen few? Dear God, why oh why did you choose me? I am NOT equipped. You have way too much faith in me. Eventually B and I left, we found our way to get something to drink. We chatted and talked about old times and even laughter found me again. I dropped B back off at his home. Strangely life went on as it always does. As I reflect back on that day, there still aren't any answers and far too many questions. The only thing I do know is that God is in control. His ways aren't mine. Even though it doesn't make sense, I believe He has a plan and He knew me while I was in my mother's womb. I know I am not worthy to be a light in the dark for my family but my God is and I don't know how or why but I do know He planned my crazy life for a purpose. He created me perfectly for my life and situations. He created and adores T and B too. I pray they both feel that love. B from here on Earth and T along the streets paved with gold and without any pain.