In The Back of The Parlor by Jason Powell

“This is bullshit. Funerals. Why are they even a thing? What benefit are they? To who? We’re gathered tonight to remember Lisbeth… What does that mean? Are we all gonna forget her tomorrow? Did we all need to be herded in to this small ass room to remember someone who only died four days ago? It’s stupid. Funerals should really take place a year after someone dies. Or two years or three or whatever. When people do start to forget and need to be reminded that Lisbeth was a fucking person and not a fucking obligation. I’ve never even met half of these people and I was with her literally everyday for the last nine months. Everyone knew she was sick. Everyone offered their thoughts and prayers and ears if anyone in our family needed to speak. But no one was here. Nobody came to the hospital. No one came to the house. No one called to check in. People would send a text that would say something like, “hey how’s your sister?” Then after that question was answered they’d send a text with the real reason they contacted me, like, “Oh ok, I’ll keep praying for her. Are you going to Natali’s party tomorrow?” Or something like that. It’s fucking bullshit. Why are they here now? Seriously. For what? Lisbeth doesn’t care, she’s dead.”


“They’re here for you guys. For your family. To offer support.”


“But what does that mean? Support for what? How is their being here changing anything? I’m being serious, I’m not being an asshole or anything, I’m really asking. Like…”


“I know you’re not being an asshole, but you’re upset. They just want to pay their respects.”


“But that’s what I’m saying. It’s bullshit. Not them, this whole thing. Funerals. In general. What does that mean, ‘pay their respects’? Why is it respectful to be here after a person has died and not before? Families pay thousands of dollars for funerals so other people, who weren’t there as much as they were can come and look at a dead body and hug the family and sign a book to get credit for doing those things. Thousands of dollars. How is that, you know, respectful or whatever? It’s such a dumb tradition.”


“Ok.”


“What? Why are you mad? What?”


“I’m not babe, I’m not mad. I just don’t want you to be so mad. But it’s ok.”


“No. What? What were you gonna say?”


“Baby, I’m serious. I wasn’t going to say anything. It’s just… I know this sucks. Everyone hates funerals but…”


“Not everyone. Half the people in here are laughing.”


“…BUT. Don’t be mad at people for trying to do the right thing. You’re right this is kind of a crazy way of doing things. But all funerals aren’t the same everywhere. Some funerals are parties. Like a celebration of the persons life or that they’re no longer suffering or whatever. Some funerals are just, like, straight up church services, you know? Like the only difference between a church service and that service is the coffin. Know what I mean? Funerals do serve a purpose. They’re like, you know, closure. People come to say good bye in person. They could easily do it in a text or a facebook comment but they go out of their way to come here to say it to the person. To Lisbeth. She’s not just a body, she’s still Lisbeth. And for those who didn’t know her they do it for you guys. For the same reason I’m here. So you don’t have to be alone when you say goodbye. You know what I mean?”


“…”


“Don’t be mad, babe. They have the right intentions. They mean well. Ok?”


“Ok. I’m sorry.”


“No. Don’t be. I just don’t want you to be mad. This is hard enough for you guys.”


“I don’t wanna go up there.”


“What do you mean, to see her?”


“No to… to talk, to speak. I gotta read the fucking eulogy.”


“Oh.”


“I don’t wanna do this.”


“I know, baby, I know. You want me to go with you?”


“I don’t want to do this. It’s so du… it’s fucking stupid.”


“I know baby.”


“How the fuck can she be dead? How can she be in the hospital for nine, Nine! Fucking. Months. And not get better? It doesn’t make any sense.”


“I know.”


“I don’t wanna do this.”


“Ok, babe. Ok.”


“…”

“Come on baby. They’re calling you up there. Let’s go. I’m going with you.”


“Fuck.”


“Come on. For Lisbeth. Come on.”


“Ok.”


“You’re ok baby. Come on.”


“Hi guys. Uh... Excuse me. I’m sorry. Umm. I’m gonna read this, uh… there’s a eulogy on the back of your… My mom and I wrote this, this, summary of her life on the back of these handouts. Uh…”


“It’s ok sweetie.”


“I just want to say that… I wanna say that I, my mom and I, loved my sister. She meant the world to us. This isn’t easy, but we… I just want to say that, ehem…. I wanna say thank you. Thank you. It means so much to my family… and to Lisbeth, that you guys are here. Thank you.”


*Story first published in Anti-Heroin Chic

#grief #coping #love #funerals #support #family #thoughts


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