‘Grief is a funny thing…’

Of course I don’t mean ‘funny haha’ –  I mean funny strange; strange in the way people deal with grief.  Last Tuesday our family dog of twelve years was put to sleep, due to illness and pain.  It was heart-breaking for all of us because he was such a lovely dog and had been a part of so many key events in our lives.  And suddenly he was no more.  So…yesterday, I decided to take full time care of a puppy that was eight weeks old.  The house is busy again, my six year old is happy once more and so am I.  He is gorgeous and fun.

Many years ago, a lady I was very fond of died at the age of fifty one.  It was something everybody who knew her was expecting due to a long illness she had suffered, but nevertheless, when it happened I was really upset.  Suddenly, she wasn’t there any more.  I was away on holiday when she died, so didn’t really feel I had any closure – one minute I was spending the morning with her – the next minute I was never going to see her again.  So…I asked her family if I could visit her in the chapel of rest; they agreed without any reservations.
I don’t know what I was expecting the ‘visit’ to be like – probably something similar to a Hollywood film setting, with the rectangle casket, curtains around it etc.  Instead, I was taken into a small room and was greeted with a Count Dracula shaped coffin (which I wasn’t expecting) and my friend – dressed in her smart but normal clothes, together with shoes.  Her hands were crossed over her chest (again, really not expecting) and a photograph of her three children had been placed under her hands.  Because she had had a fit before she died, her mouth was distorted.   Initially I was totally shocked and froze in the doorway.  This was my friend in front of me, as she had been for so many years, but this time she wasn’t breathing.  She was dead.

I gradually moved towards her, unsure of what I should be thinking, feeling or doing.  A chair had been placed next to the coffin so I sat down and gathered my thoughts.  And then, slowly I began to feel calmer.   Eventually, I moved up close to my friend and put my hand on top of hers.  She felt so cold.  It was instinctive for me to try to warm up her hands with mine.  I stroked her hair and in my head, said good-bye to her.  I then leant into the coffin and kissed her forehead – to my horror, my mobile phone fell out of the jacket pocket I had put it in, and went straight into the coffin.   I looked at my friend and started to laugh hysterically.  I mean, I couldn’t stop.  I had a sudden vision of a mobile ringing from the coffin during the funeral and everybody running out of the church.   Eventually, after a minute or so,  I composed myself, retrieved my phone and said a last good-bye to a very special person.

Until faced with difficult situations, whatever they are, none of us really know how we are going to feel and act.  And death is no different.  It is a difficult situation that needs dealing with and some of us will deal with it the same and some of us will deal with  it differently.  And that’s O.K.   All we can do is be aware of other peoples feelings, consider them and then make a decision based on what feels right.

Written by ‘Survivor-Uncensored’

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