28 April 2005
No Weddings & A Funeral

In my experience, it's the coffin that finally undoes me.

I've not yet lost anyone that I've been inextricably close to, so I've not had to experience the heart-hurt that must occur with that. For me, the finality is not with the news, it's seeing the solidity of the casket, alone, in the corner of the room.

It tells you bluntly that the person you love is there, in that tiny, confined space, and that this is it. The end.

She was my great aunt, a gorgeous creature with snow white hair (that she got in her mid 30s, there but for the grace of L'Oreal go I), sparkling blue eyes and mischevious wit. I remember discussing with her the importance of beautiful lingerie, not for others, but for one's self.

Even the last time I saw her in the cardio-thoracic ward of Monash Medical Centre, she was quipping about nobody needing to see her 81 year old bum exposed by ugly hospital gowns.

I didn't know much about her. She left home young to join the air force because it seemed to be a good idea at the time. She lived with her friend, June, for most of her life, travelling with her and nursing her in her last days, but was incredibly indignant if you suggested they had 'that' sort of relationship.

She smoked (which was her ultimate undoing), drank gin and tonic and had a wicked sense of humour.

The reality of the plain brown coffin in the corner, covered in fragrant gardinias, finally brought it home to me that she had gone. Even though I'd known about her passing for almost a week, it wasn't real until I saw that box.

Until that point, I had been feeling my mother's grief and her burden, concerned more for her than about what had happened. But, as I took my seat, as 'Begin the Beguine' began to play, and as I stared at the coffin, it all came crashing down one me, the reality of her being gone.

"All the trappings of death are for the living. It is the final reconcilliation. The last farewell." - Neil Gaiman, 'Cerements', Worlds' End

ladymisstree • 03:44 PM


I'm very sorry to hear about your loss. 81 is far too young to go, especially for someone as special as your aunt.

Rebecca told me at 09:01 PM on 28|04|05


Having never been to a funeral or anything much like one, I've thankfully not had to deal with the smack reality of death in one harsh blow like that. It's bad enough dealing with it slowly, the way I do. At least you have some good memories!

squeaks told me at 03:28 PM on 29|04|05

Beautiful story, even though painful. I'm terribly sorry for your loss, especially of someone so vibrant and full of life. I've been to so many funerals of so many of my close friends and family sometimes i look around and am amazed there's anyone left; but still you're dead on--it's that moment, seeing them in a casket, a bed from which nobody ever gets up.


steph told me at 02:58 AM on 30|04|05

I'm sorry, Tree. Death just really sucks balls.

Hugs to you.

Jackie told me at 08:56 AM on 03|05|05

I'm sorry -- she sounds like she was a real character!

deevaa told me at 09:28 AM on 03|05|05

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