“I can’t, I can’t!” screams the 30 year old mother of two

with trembling body and clouded mind.

Her grandmother, once familiar, now foreign.

Hands cold, lips shut.

Eyes closed with glue.

A body that once embodied love

now fear.

Once comfort, now pain.

Her parents urge her again . . .

“I don’t want to see her!”

The protestations echo though the walls and down to our bones


“What’s going on?” “WHATS GOING ON?!”

asks the protester’s two year old daughter.

Her small voice isn’t lost in the noise.

Her four-year-old brother quickly hugs her

and whispers

“It’s okay”

She finds calm in his arms.


I listen.

I watch.


The stampede of grief settles like dust.

The two year old drops her crackers on the floor.

Her protesting mother picks them up one by one

“Let me throw them out.” I say.

“You never know what kind of germs are on a funeral home floor.”

The humor finds a small crack

that allows laughter instead of tears.

A kind word and a touch of humor.

A moment later, she straightens her back.

Wipes her face.

Grabs the hands of her children

She walks to the casket.

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