Untimely Death

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We had been gathered around the new grave in silence for sometime when granny spoke out, ‘well it was a stupid thing to do.’

We all looked over at her, a few of us even gasping.

‘Granny!’ Isabella scolded and squeezed the old woman’s hand.

Great grandmother and great granddaughter looked at it each other then joined us in silence once more.

Slowly, people began to drift away as they do when a funeral is over. Their whispering voices commenting on the flowers and service drifting across the cemetery.

I looked down at my older sister’s grave. It was but a hole in the ground with the edges of a pink coffin peeking through the dirt and no headstone to name her yet.

Granny had been right though. My sister should never have trusted that flashy magician or his Amazing Invisible Sword trick.

Too Soon

Angel, Cemetery, The Dead, The Tomb Of, Death, Funeral

Life was so brutal. That thought spiraled in my mind and sink deeper inside me, coming to rest in my heart. Someone put their hand on my shoulder, patting it and I felt a slight warmth through my thin white blouse. I couldn’t look up. I couldn’t stop staring at the silver and diamond topped band on my left hand.

My throat and mouth felt stuffed with cotton wool, almost as if I had eaten cotton candy that wasn’t melting. I swallowed, but it didn’t move. I placed my other hand over the ring. Breaking the contact, I rose my head and tried to thank whoever had patted me. They had all ready moved on though and were paying their respects.

Whilst I figured out who they were, my mum handed me another tissue. I took it without thinking and dabbed my eyes. So much for the waterproof makeup, my overflow of tears had vanquished all the packaging claims. I pressed the tissue to my face and took a few deep breaths.

Everything would be over too soon and this moment I was desperately clinging too and also praying it had never happened at the same time would end.

Just like him.

Life’s Given (part 2)

 :

‘For better or worse, in sickness and health.’

Colin nodded at his wife’s misquoting and squeezed her hand tightly.

‘It’s going to be okay,’ he whispered back.

She gave a little shake of her head, but didn’t stay anything.

‘We’ll have…to try…’ he stopped unable to force the rest of the words out. He had the urge to tell his wife so much, but the tears had closed his throat.

She sighed and shifted on the rough hospital bed causing the sheets and her gowned to rasp together. She turned her head away, shutting her eyes and letting the room fill with the whirling machines and their breathing.

Releasing her hand, Colin tried to hold himself together. He rubbed his palms across his knees and thought about going to get a hot drink. He couldn’t leave her like this, even though it seemed she had taken the terminal news okay. He studied her and noticed how thin her face had become. His wife looked like a flat portrait of herself, he decided.

Slumming into the hard chair, he thought about what to do, but nothing formed in his head. He pressed a hand to his head and listen to the ticking clock on the wall.

‘I’m going to get a drink, do you want anything?’ he spoke softly.

She didn’t reply.

He got up and saw she had fallen asleep. Gently, he fixed the knitted hat that hid her baldness and pulled the sheet up to her chin. He left as quietly as he could and went down a floor to the café. There cradling a burning cup of tea, he sat at a plastic table and watched everyone else.

There was only a few people hanging around and most of them looked like last minute visitors. They were sat alone or in pairs, whispering over cups and plates. Colin glanced out of the window and saw a small garden below him over which the mid-summer sun was just beginning to set.

I should take her out there tomorrow, if the weather holds, he thought before sipping his tea. Then his thoughts turned and he recalled how two years ago everything had started in this very hospital. He looked into his tea and tried to remember his wife telling him the news. They had been at home, going to bed. He knew she hadn’t been well, but she had been hiding it in her normal way. What had they done that night?

He shook his head, too much having happened for him to hold on to that one moment. He sighed, blew across his drink and took another sip. Placing the cup down, he pressed his hands into his head.

I don’t want this.

***

They had been a classic family; dad, mum, a boy and a girl. Now though, as Colin sat in his suddenly empty living room and looked at the photos, a chill crossed his heart. Sympathy cards lined the window sill, their soft drawings of flowers lit by the lamp. From upstairs he could hear his wife’s shaking sobs. He thought about going to her, but for the moment he needed to be alone.

His daughter had just died.

She would have been twenty-five next week and had gone on holiday with her boyfriend. A plane crash that had killed countless others and torn families around the world apart, had claimed her. She would never return.

Colin got up and touched the last photo of her and her older brother. He tasted bile in his throat and acid in his stomach. He shook his head and felt a surge of anger at losing both his children.

Unbelievably, tomorrow was his son’s anniversary. Eleven years gone now, killed by a drunk driver, aged only eighteen, in a car accident.

Colin slammed down the photograph and went upstairs. He found his wife flung across the bed face down. Her black dress rode up around her whilst her body heaved and shook on top of the sheets. He helped her up and took the dress off. He dropped it to the floor and saw she was wearing matching black underwear.

He lay her down on the bed again, took off his clothes then slipped between her legs. She didn’t protest as he slipped limply in and tried to offer some comfort. After, he held her tightly till she slipped into a restless sleep.

***

It was the happiest moment of his life. Colin stood on the church doorstep and watched the guests gathering. The early autumn sun was shining in a blue sky and even the little graveyard looked cheerful. He arranged the collar of his suit for the hundredth time and straightened out his red rose in his top pocket.

Everything had to be right and traditional, today was her big day. And also his, but this really was all for her. He watched the last of the guests arrive and greeted them warmly. He helped them find their seats and made sure that their children were going to be quiet.

Nothing can go wrong, everything has to be perfect.

Then, he was taking place at the altar with his best man and the vicar. He listened to the mumbled of voices from behind which got blasted by the starting of the church organ. His best man glanced behind them and Colin saw his face light up.

She’s here!  

He felt sweat bead on his head and hands. He quickly patted it away and took in a few depth breaths. Repeating the mantra over and over again as if he was about to perform that instead of his vows, he tried to clear his mind. He felt her come to his side, he turned and accepted her hand given to him by her father. Colin gulped and took her in. She was too beautiful in crushed white satin and frills.

The vicar’s voice mingled with the ending notes of the organ, filling the silenced room with his opening welcome.

Colin clutched her hands, feeling warmth spreading through him.

Life had given him everything he had ever wanted.       

Life’s Given (part 1)

 :

The waves splashed up around the car as Colin cut the engine, having decided he’d driven far enough. He took his hands off the steering wheel and dropped them into his lap. Staying seriously still, he looked out of the windscreen and watched the white topped sea engulfing the car. He let the rocking motion, more powerful now then when he had first headed in, sooth him.

Tears started in his brown eyes, but he no longer had the energy to rub them away. They leaked down his cheek and chin before falling on to the dirty white shirt. His bloodless, bitten lips trembled and soft sobbing escaped his mouth. He lent back and shut his eyes, allowing the sea to carry him away like a lost boat.

When Colin opened his eyes again, due by the cruel cries of seagulls, he saw that the sky had darkened and it was now raining. He looked out of the side window and saw that the sea was lapping halfway up the door. Moving back, he noticed his feet were wet and a quick glance down confirmed that the salty water had found ways into the car.

He wiped his damp face, moving back loose strands of dark brown hair then got back to waiting. He could hear the waves roaring outside and the strangled cries of the gulls still. Spray and rain mixed on the window, clouding his view and Colin felt himself on the edge of breaking down again. He let it come and sat there crying loudly as the sea broke through the glass.

***

Summer ended and Colin convinced himself so had his life. Bitter and hungover, he packed up the last of his boxes into the car. Refusing to look back at the house he had spent his whole adult life living in and fighting for. He got in, flicked the engine on and drove off. The swinging For Sale sign filling his review mirror. He drove straight into town and once there pawned the rest of his valuables.

He stopped at a cash machine and tried his card, but it wasn’t accepted. Out of habit, he put it back into was wallet with the two hundred pounds he’d just got and went back to the car. Sinking behind the wheel, he watched people roaming around the car park and going about their daily lives. His throat felt chocked, he thought about getting out again and going to buy a coffee.

‘Waste of money,’ he muttered to himself.

He pulled a jumper over his knees and grabbed a tatty science fiction novel from the passenger seat. He sat there reading and pretending he was waiting for someone. He read for an hour before deciding to take a nap. Wrapping himself in more winter clothes, he shut his eyes and pictured his bed back home. Soon, he was sleeping as peacefully as a kitten.

A loud tapping brought him awake. Colin opened his eyes and started out at the car park attendant. He went to open the window then remembered the engine was off, so opened the door instead.

‘You okay, sir?’ the large African man asked him.

Colin nodded, ‘I was waiting for someone,’ he mumbled.

He saw the attendant’s eyes flicking through the packed up car before zoning back to him.

‘The car park is shutting; I’m going to need you to leave.’

‘Of course, of course, I’m so sorry,’ Colin rushed.

He closed his door and started the car. He strapped his seat belt on then put the car into reverse and drove off. For a few minutes, he didn’t think about what he was doing, just that he had to get away. Then, he realised he was heading home and almost slammed on the brakes. Approaching around about, he followed the signs for the motorway and decided to head to the coast.

At least there I might be less disturbed, he thought.

Two hours later, he pulled up in an empty beach carpark. The tide was in and night was coming on fast. He glanced around and thought about finding a hotel. Another waste of money and what’s in my wallet is what I have, he signed. Getting out of the car, he went to the public toilets which stink of stale waste and salt.

Coming out again was a great relief and he hurried into his car once more. Locking himself in, he wrapped the same clothes around his tried, hungry body and pulled out his book again. He disappeared between the pages.

***

Colin was sick of hearing condolences. He had removed the phone cable and found a new best friend in cheap alcohol. He sat before the TV on the sofa or else sprawled on his bed and let the hours trickle passed. He tried not to look around the house or even think about anything, but it was too hard to do.

Sympathy cards lined the window sill, causing him to painfully remember the other two times that they had appeared. He got up, collected them all and threw them into the bin. Feeling slightly better, he looked around and decided to do the same to her things. He grabbed some bin bags and starting in the wardrobe, removed all of her clothes. He tried not to look and dwell as he did so, but still his thoughts couldn’t help it.

Here’s that red dress she wore for our last date. The sexy underwear I got her for Christmas. A witch’s Halloween costume for that big party last October. The purple high heels she looked wonderful in. Work clothes that would make the teenage office boys blush. Night clothes and underwear for the hospital stays. Slippers.

He was crying before he knew it. Stuffing as much as possible in, he then took the bags outside and dumped them in the garden. Coming back, he went through the rest of her stuff and added that to the pile outside. He wrestled with the memories and drank more heavily to forget. Collapsing onto the bed, he fell asleep in an emptier house then before.

Strangely, he dreamed of her funeral, though it wasn’t the actual one. The small church was humming with people singing hymns and he was walking up to the open casket. He looked in and saw his wife laying there. She was wearing a plain black frilled dress, oddly cut too low so that her breast stuck invitingly up. Her thin, needle scared arms lay beside her wilted torsos and he was confused for a few moments. This isn’t her!

Then he recalled the cancer. She had been eaten away and now this husk was all that was left. He looked closely at her face and saw that it really was her. He would always know the bow of her lips and button of her nose. Someone had put makeup on her, but it was too soft and made her look too natural. Where were the vibrate colours she was famous for?

He backed away as the priest rose and began tolling words from a little black book.

‘It’s wrong!’ he screamed, ‘So wrong! Stop! No!’

He rushed at the people in the pews, but he went right through them and the wooden seats. He spun and charged the priest, but the same effected happened. He went to her coffin and slipping his hands underneath her pulled her body out. He clutched his dead wife to his chest and cried hard, ‘Don’t leave me!’

To Be Continued…

Funeral

 

Watching from the sidelines was something I never had any patients for. I’d rather be in the middle taking action or leading with an unmatchable passion. Ah, that’s me! Well, it was me. I’ve not had much time or chance to test out this new form, however, getting through this ‘final life stage’ is proving tougher then I thought.

I’ve been well aware of everything that has gone on from that key moment. Getting use to not being able to communicate normally was a bitch, but I found some ways around it. Going through solid objects and living beings, turned out not to be dramatic or horrifying. The odd emotionless, lack of other senses, invisible, gravity deifying sort-of-body I now have has its pros and cons.

To be honest I didn’t know what to expect from my own funeral. I had a Will- thanks to my company-but I couldn’t recall anything about arrangements, music or the service. I don’t think I’d ever really thought about it, however as I now stand at the back of a Church, I wish I had. The rumors I had picked up on seemed like a joke or a fall back. I wasn’t religious, I was for Darwin and Science hundred percent.

I float and listen as people talk about me. However, the stories can’t compare to the ones at my wedding. They are mostly un-funny, reflective and don’t sum up my life as they should. At least they make me feel loved and appreciated. Better yet, no hymens or religious songs are played. I go out to The eye of the Tiger and that feels fitting enough.

Avoiding the crying people, I hitch a ride in a friend’s car after the service. I can’t help but wonder if I should be traveling with my body, but it just seems so morbid to me. To think that everything I was is now in a chestnut box decorated with flowers is upsetting enough. It takes forever to arrive at the cemetery going at a snail’s pace. It starts raining as we go through the gates and I disperses from the car before its stopped.

Oddly, I know where they’ll bury me. Heading there, I shelter under a small willow tree and look at the hole dug in front of my father’s grave. The last time I stood there was six years ago when he was being put in the ground. A parade of umbrellas catches my attention and I see them bring the coffin here. Standing my ground, I watch as it is lowered into the hole, people talk, soil is throw and then everyone melts away.