Welcome To St. Elsewhere
Fred has been dead now for a week but it feels like he's been gone for a century. The
funeral services are being held today at
the Spiritualist Center. I feel so calm
today, the sky is all grey just like my
mood. I'm not crying, what for, that is
not necessary. "Are you ready mom?" my son says to me. "I'll be ready in a wee bit, John, I had my shower already" "I haven't yet, so I'll go now, okay mom?" "yeah, you do that" I call back. I'm trying to think of all that is happy, but I can't, how can I when my heart is at stake?" I'm thinking to myself. We are en route to the Center. I see all kinds of things on the way there. I see a baby crying and I think to myself that perhaps he's lost someone too, not really, at that age you don't know about that, though maybe you could too, we never know how powerful the mind is. Now I see the Center is just ahead and we are trying to find a parking spot. "Right here" I say. we have hit the jackpot, maybe later it'll be all crowded and there won't be one available. I get off the car and not even five minutes go by and I see the car that is bringing Fred to the Center. I realize the magnitude of this event and I'm careful not to think about it, I have to give the eulogy and I can't cry, I don't cry at funerals as a rule, never have, I was taught that way by my dad,
was trained that way at school too, I'm
sitting on these steps besides the coffin, and I think that I don't really want to look at you, Fred, when they finally open the coffin, what for, I don't need to do that, I will always
remember you, the way you looked, the way you spoke to me, ever so soft, as if you were afraid to raise your voice for fear of hurting me. I see you now, you don't look like you, Fred, you look different. Oh Fred, come back please!! I
resume my post at the foot of the coffin, this steps are low and that way I can have some peace and not be noticed. Not many are coming to view the body, that is just as well, I really want to be alone, but the ones that come, file by whispering as if afraid to speak too loudly for the fear of waking you up. How can they? your soul has been set free. I touch your face and oh mine, you are so cold, I knew that!! but not Fred, no, I want him comfortable, I don't want him cold, I touch and not even I can transfer heat from my hands to your face, Fred. Oh, I know, it's just your body, right Fred? Your brother has come now Fred, he's standing right there crying, so I go and see how can I make
the forlorn feel better this day, oh, I'll look after myself when all this is over, Fred, don't worry, I can almost hear you saying to me, "honey, did you eat something today?" "are you cold honey?" oh Fred, you were so nice to me, I won't find another husband like you, matter of
fact, I just analyzed the whole thing, men are no good, the other ones, I mean Fred, no one is like you, we were so happy, Fred, I tell the angel of death to leave me be now, "I don't want to see you, Angel of Death, I'm mad at you." I
see John is in front of the coffin, he's crying like there is no tomorrow. I don't know what to say to him or do. Just let him do what comes naturally to him.
Someone is saying to me to let go, I say, "are you kidding me? I have to speak to Fred today, I can't cry till this is over." Oh hell, people."You have to speak!?!!?" "yes I do, it's for Fred, remember?" "you are real tough inside, I couldn't do it" "I can" I say to Martha. She just sits besides me holding my hand. That is worse, so I say I've to go to the bathroom, be right back.
Now it's my turn. I get in front of the microphone and for a minute I don't say a thing. Now my voice comes out calm and serene, strong and loud, not too loud as to be annoying but loud enough so the people at the back can hear me. This is surreal, like a slow motion movie. I'll bet that when I come home you are going to be there, Fred, this is just make believe, like when I was a kid. I speak from my heart and I explain to people that you were not a wimp or whining about the fact that you were in a wheel chair and I say that I thank you so much for sharing your bright light with me and John. I'm speaking about the Fred I knew so well, the one that others never knew. They'd say that Fred was rough and tough and loud and had a habit of swearing, well, I knew the bit about swearing and that didn't bother me at all, that was Fred and I accepted him unconditionally, he was a mechanic, so, why make a big deal, besides, it's in the dictionary, but the rough and tough, I didn't know that part, he was so gentle with John and I, and so caring and warm, there never will be another you, so....farewell Fred, farewell from the bottom of my heart. I'm back on the pew and now I'm assaulted by chills and nausea, got to control it, wait till I get home, don't spoil the peace in this place, sit straight, do it now!!
Now I hear Margie, the minister at the Spiritualist Center say, "lunch will be served downstairs, the services are now over." just like that, huh? thirteen years are over at the command of a Minister at the end of a funeral service! oh my! I can't move, I'm paralyzed by grief! John spoke too, and he had the whole place in tears, except myself, I couldn't cry, wouldn't want Fred to think I'm a wimp, I hate wimps! I ask the funeral people if I could please kiss the coffin before they take it, it's just to say goodbye, I do that and now it's over, 13 years are over, have a nice journey, Fred, continue and evolve, Fred, we'll see each other again, I know that, farewell.... farewell....bye.
I get in the car and fall asleep. I get home and I vomit and cry and the more I cry, the more I vomit. I fall asleep with a deep pain in my chest and I don't wake up till the next day, when I realize that this is it. It's 7 AM., and here I am, vomiting and crying, like a game, the more I cry, the more I vomit, merry go round! I go to bed again, for some reason I fall back asleep but this feels like an unnatural sleep, I tremble and I jolt myself awake, close my eyes again and again I get jolted awake and this goes on and on. My son comes to see if I'm alright, it's 11 AM, I was hoping I was dead now, but I wake up and he says, "come on to the kitchen mom, I'll make you something to eat, come on!" "no, I just want to be alone, I don't want to go any place, let me be."
Continued on the next page...