And all she was, was wet.
She sat there, shifting back and forth uncomfortably, burning holes with her hazel eyes through her already ripped tights. Outside, the heavy April rain kept a balanced cadence on the pavement, greening the cemetery’s grass and creating small lakes within the sidewalk cracks. Her emotions bounced between sadness and frustration as she pleaded with her tear ducts to release the tears that would not come. She didn’t get it. She had sobbed at the end of The Notebook, lost it when Jamie died in A Walk to Remember, and still cries when “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” plays in the Lion King. But, for some reason, at this moment in time, tears had escaped her completely. She remember being younger, and forgetting how to swallow. She remembered being scared she was going to drown in her own saliva. Now, she thought about what it would be like to forget how to feel.
It was not until that night when she read the note her grandfather had given her at her great uncle’s funeral, that the tears came. It read, “Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.”
From the funeral home, the casket was driven to the cemetery. White flowers – that were beginning to emerge from the leaves of trees- stuck out like sore thumbs against the black dresses and suits of all of those who had came to mourn. The coffin was then slowly lowered into the ground. Each person took their turn shoveling dirt onto the coffin. When it was her turn, she imagined he was peaceful, and for the reason she felt it would be rude to drop the dirt onto the coffin like everyone else had. Instead, she decided to sprinkle the dirt, as not to wake him up. Now all that stood between the girl and her grandfather was seven feet of soil. She wished the lid of the coffin and everyone else would just go away for a second, so she could talk to her grandfather one last time, and tell him that she missed him. She wanted to tell him that she thought of him every time she watched a Mets game, and that she had been really disappointed when she had found out that Felix the Cat didn’t actually live in the basement. She wished he could ask her how her day had been one more time, so this time she could give him more than just some monosyllabic answer. She wished she could tell him she was sorry for feeling relieved that she had had an excuse to not take her biology exam the day before. She wanted to ask him how he made her tongue stick out whenever he pushed on her bellybutton. However, she imagined she would look pretty stupid talking to a wooden box and bunch of dirt, and she didn’t want the other tombstones and benches to laugh at her.
As regrets danced around in her head, the droning voice of the rabbi was finishing a Hebrew song about ten octaves off key, “May he rest in peace, he was a wonderful man” was the extent of the eulogy; the classically lame closing line. It wasn’t what he deserved. This wasn’t what he deserved. His casket looked too short and discolored. She wondered if they made blue coffins, to match his eyes. But she knew that the last thing he’d want was for people to be bitter at his funeral. Just like the quote from her grandfather’s note, she knew that he would always be with her, and all the memories, those would stay alive too. He’d want them to smile as they looked back on all the good times and laughs. Because that’s just the kind of guy he was, and she wished more than anything that she would have appreciated as much as she should have.
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