Monday, July 13, 2009

I just wanted to be sure...

Pin It The pale green curtain was pulled across the doorway for some semblance of privacy in the chapel of Moon Funeral Parlor this afternoon. My dad had left to discuss the varied details of the memorial service with the director while I rubbed down the coffin with furniture polish.

The lemony-pine scent wafted over the pews of the silent chapel, and the wood radiated with a golden sheen in the incandescent lights from the ceiling.

The silence of that chapel was brazen—almost ominous.

I gazed wordlessly for a few moments at the box constructed of pine lath before me, and found myself having a conversation with Mom. I was wondering if she would be comfortable when she would be placed in it tomorrow morning—two days before the funeral was to take place.

I slid the lid open

The interior was carefully lined with a patterned, white blanket; velvety to the touch. A cushion had been placed at the underside of the casket; I felt along the base, relishing the softness.

I removed my shoes and—very carefully—climbed inside.

I eased my head back against the pillow and gazed at the ceiling. The lining was cozy, comfortable, and it felt warm and secure. It would have been a bit hard on the rear after a prolonged period I decided, but overall it was—nice.

I closed my eyes.

A moment later I heard the curtain being whipped back. I jerked my head up to see the junior director standing in the doorway.

The look of dumfounded stupor on his face said it all, for he was devoid of speech.

I arose slightly and rested my arms on the sides of the casket. “Just checking,” I said in an offhanded tone.

“Checking?” He asked.

“To make sure it’s comfortable,” I said, regarding him in return. “This must look a little odd…”

The man shook his head, “Well, I’ve never seen it before—or heard of it either,” he gave an uncertain chuckle. “But to each his own.”

“I just wanted to be sure,” I said. “I’ll be done in just a minute.”

The man nodded. “Well, I just wanted to let you know that your dad is meeting with the director now…that is, if you wanted to join them.”

He stood in the doorway for another silent beat, and then the curtain was sharply drawn back where it had been.

I eased back into place.

Yes, the coffin was comfortable.

Mom would have approved.

I climbed out of the casket and slipped my shoes back on, gathering up the wood polishing supplies as I did so.

On my way out I saw the junior director sitting in a side room with a fellow employee.

They both looked up as I passed, and smiled.

24 comments:

Danielle said...

Did you really do that? I would've been curious, but dont know if I'd have done it.

Gerb said...

I love it. I'm glad you didn't take pictures, though...

007penguin said...

Only you Jason. Only you could either have the guts to do it...or pull one over on all of us! Whichever it is, its you. I too found myself smiling at the thought, thanks!

The Scotts said...

You are awesome! My grandpa was a mortician and we used to play hide and seek in the mortuary all the time. We would hide in the caskets in the dark!!! Memories!

♥Miya said...

I'm sure Mom greatly appreciates you taking off your shoes first :P You know how she was!

Bee said...

Hilarious! Did you really do this?

Linn said...

You did NOT?! Really? I feel guilty to have laughed, but laugh I did. Here I was going to write again about how sorry I was your mom passed away, and I definitely am, but then you go and pull that stunt. I am speechless...

Mamma has spoken said...

Thanks for the good laugh this morning!!I was ready to feel your pain, and instead I'm rolling on the floor laughing. My BF's husband is a funeral director, I'll have to ask him if he has had anyone 'test' a casket before. He does have some good stories but don't remember any like this.
Oh and I polietly disagree with Gerb, you taking a picture of you in the casket would so be you...

Lydia said...

That's some how oddly sweet.

Teachinfourth said...

D - Yep...

G - Uh, well...

K - Since I don't want you thinking I 'pulled a fast one' since I did that to your mom a few times over the years I'll give you the proof; just know that I wasn't going to post this, okay?

J - I bet it was fun/scary.

M - Yeah, I didn't want to get yelled at.

B - See 'K's' comment.

L - I did. To be honest, I needed to laugh, too.

M - I'd be interested to know. I almost asked the assistant to take one, but changed my mind, I snagged my camera and took the other instead.

L - Thanks.

Kris said...

I can see the whole thing in my mind...You are something...As a mom, I am shaking my head and smirking.

007penguin said...

J - that "proof" is fab! Mom'll get a good laugh at it. I was actually possibly hoping to come to the service, but have a dr. appt I can't get out of. We're all thinking of you, mom sends you her thoughts and love as well.

Jayne said...

Jason,
My thoughts are with you--good luck with the next steps!

hintonrae said...

Well, I am mentally saying a very loud, completely horrified, "ohnoyoudi-int!", but judging from your responses I guess you did. You are an overgrown Lawson. Such a goober. Your mom is looking down from heaven and just loving you for that little bit of sweet irreverence.

Cari said...

Holy cow! I can't believe you really did that. :)

summer said...

I'm so sorry to hear of everything you and your family have been going through as of late - we are out of state and I've caught parts to your family's story, and I as well was coming on to see how you were handling everything. Laughter and some humor really can do our souls well - and don't we know that those we love on the other side are rejoicing in their state, so to see you having a carefree moment where you are "just making sure" for your mom...that is absolutely you. My dad is a funeral director - and this is one of the best stories I've ever heard! Take care friend.

Linn said...

That picture! Once again, I am speechless...

LauraB said...

You dive a couple of words into the first sentence and cringe. Any question about the title has vanished and you're left to a few delightful, slightly uncomfortable, moments of suspense. There may have even been a couple audible "No!?"'s and at least one involuntary urge to cover the eyes - an urge that was resisted, thankfully, so as not to miss the conclusion with its unexpected arrival of a witness.

Jason, it's a tender honor to see through a window into some of your thoughts and experiences. Thanks for letting us in.

Gerb said...

I. Can. Not. Stop. Laughing.

It shouldn't be funny, but it really, really is. Why in the world would I think you didn't take a picture?! Of course you took a picture. I love it.

SO said...

You truly are a good son to make sure that her final place to rest her head will be comfy. I love it.

annette said...

Sound like an episode from "Moments with Joey", with you, of course, being Joey. :)
I really laughed when I read, "The look of dumfounded stupor on his face said it all, for he was devoid of speech."

Anonymous said...

You finally coaxed me out of lurkdom... All I have to say is I can TOTALLY see you doing that! LOL Some things never change... Thanks for the good laugh today! :)
--Tanya

Rachel said...

Oh. My. Stinkin. Creepy. HECK! And you took a picture!!!!!!

tammy said...

I was feeling adventurous, so I clicked. I think I love that you did that.

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