Numbness, wandering like those in the day of the living dead,

entered the most feared, desolate, uninviting, forbidding, sickly-

faux serene place on the face of the earth, the funeral parlor.


None of these young people ever would have chosen in a

million years to be where they were at that moment in time

in the August of their lives just before going back to school.


In the place of the family viewing, the room reserved for the

uber-numb, the young, dead woman’s twenty-five year old

son approached the open casket to view the woman


he kissed goodbye just seven days before when she got on a plane

with his father to go on the first vacation they had gone on without

the kids since those two children had been born.


No one had looked in the casket until the son had.  He stared down

and exclaimed, “That’s not my mother.”  Others rushed up and looked

into the silk-lined, wooden sarcophagus


where the heavily made-up bloated creature with the blond

hair lie with rosy cheeks, puffy eyes and triple chin.  The super

expensive, completely empathetic funeral director was called


and said that they had done everything that they could do given

what they had to work with.  What they had to work with prior

to the pumped-in fluids had been a beautiful, blond, forty-nine


year old wife, mother, sister, daughter whose brain gushed with

blood and then whose cells were stuffed, chuck full of medicinal

fluids that just didn’t get drained after death.


The casket was slammed shut never to be opened again, burned

into ashes in the inland sea.  Guests from as far away as Kentucky

complained that they couldn’t have closure without


seeing the body. The son who first looked at the bloated body

squeezed into the oak boat and the daughter who kept busy pasting

photos so mourners would have views of her mom at her best


and the eighty-five-year old mother and the slightly older sister

and the husband who tried to hold his wife’s hand as she pushed

him away while screaming in pain on the gurney


knew there would never be the closure others sought and

would be granted but they just couldn’t let anyone see her that way.

They just couldn’t.

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