Rest in peace

As a freelance writer and editor, I mostly work from home. However, one of my clients requires me to be in their offices for a few hours every day. Their office is situated near a funeral home, which makes it really hard to work on Thursdays.

Some time last week, I was walking by the funeral home when I saw this guy. He was cuddling a little girl who looked 4 or 5 years old. I noticed her because she wore a bright orange jacket and had beads in her hair.

I had my earpones on [X FM Baby!] so I couldn’t hear what they were saying, and she had covered his face, so I couldn’t see if he was crying. They stood a bit far from the proceedings, and I wondered if he was protecting her from the corpse.

But as I watched them, I realized that maybe she was protecting him. As long as he held that baby, as long as he shielded her from pain, he didn’t have to deal with his own. He could stand there all stoic and be a man about everything.

They were swaying, like they were slow dancing to some song that only they could hear. And when a lady came by and picked up the child, I saw the man’s face change. His barrier was gone, and the weight of the moment seized him. It was painful to watch.

People have different ways of dealing with death. I’ve never been afraid of it, probably because I always had a strong faith, so I knew where I was going. Lately my mind-frame has changed, but I still have a set image on the afterlife, so it doesn’t really scare me.

What does frighten me is thinking of the ones I will leave behind. I wonder who will look after my baby, and whether they will love her as much as I do. I wonder what will happen to my books, and to my yet-to-bt-purchased fish tank. I wonder about the man that I love – whether he’ll be fine without me, or how much I’ll miss him when I’m gone.

I wonder, sometimes, whether crossing into death will hurt.

I don’t enjoy funerals because I never know what to say to the mourners. It doesn’t seem enough to just hug them and let them cry, which is all I know how to do. I hate the viewing because they always seem so strangely detached and unrecognisable, like someone else’s body is sitting in that box.

Plus, dead things freak me out.

It’s strange, I suppose, for me – a depressive – to have such odd feelings about death. It’s why I buy reincarnation. As long as I know that I’ll come back, that I’ll recognize my loved ones, that at some deep internal level they’ll know where I am and I’ll know that they’re okay, the the Grim Reaper doesn’t seem so bad.

But … political correctness aside … dead things still really, really, really freak me out.

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Crystal Ading' is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through

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