I visited my father at the funeral home yesterday. My mother and I decided there would be no funeral. She used her illness as an excuse, but really, the truth of it is that neither of us could bear the hypocrisy of a funeral. People offering condolences, eulogising him – it all makes me want to vomit. So no funeral, but I did need proof that it’s real, so I visited him at the funeral home.
The funeral people had set aside a private room for me – just me and the coffin, the flowers and some candles. All very nice, or would have been if I was bereft in any way. The funeral home guy was all very serious and respectful – as they all have been – and I initially played serious in return. It’s almost comical us playing this game given the circumstances.
When I first saw the coffin I couldn’t believe it was him – it looked so small! This might sound weird, but I needed proof. I needed to see his body to know that he really is dead. Funeral home guy lifted the lid of the casket and left me alone.
I admit I was a little scared at first – I’ve never seen a dead body before, and I wasn’t sure how I would react. When I first looked at him, it kind of took my breath away – he looked so pale, so small and so powerless. That feeling lasted barely a nanosecond before I realised it really was him. He really is dead!
I told him he was a son of a b**** and that he’d made my life hell (and my mother’s). I told him I wasn’t sorry that he was dead, and that I hoped he’d rot in hell.
I cried a bit – at least another ten tears since the six I shed on Sunday when he died. They weren’t tears of sadness, though, but tears over the wrongs he committed, and tears of relief.
I stood there for a minute, looking out over the gardens. Something felt wrong. At first I couldn’t put my finger on it, and then I realised – it was the first time I’d been in a room with my father and he couldn’t answer back; couldn’t be abusive. The first time I’d been in a room with him and the air wasn’t thick with tension. It felt unusually peaceful.
I realised then that I’m free. I am finally, and forever, free. He can never hurt me again. I can’t tell you how great that feels! 🙂