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Rated: E · Short Story · Romance/Love · #1982669
A short piece about some memories I have of my wife's funeral
I remember laughing at my wife's funeral. Was I cold and uncaring? Was I a spiteful husband, waiting for this day to finally be rid of her?

No. Not even a thought.

I loved Jessie, I wanted anything and everything to be wonderful for her. I was happy with her. We were going to grow old together. I had placed Jess on a pedestal as my perfect bride, and she rarely disappointed me... No, that's also not true, Jessie "never" disappointed me.

Her death, along with the passing of my best friend Matt, was a nightmare that I could not wake up from. I remember as I laid broken at the hospital, I waited to wake from this horrible experience. Surly, the slumbering body would not allow this much pain to last, before being jolted back to reality and out of this terrible dream. It didn't happen though...

There at the funeral home, before the service, I waited in that temporarily empty room as I looked at Jessie's peaceful face. Any minute now, someone was going to shake me awake from this night-terror, and tell me that my life was fine and still on track. But no one did.

And so I laughed, because it was surreal. I laughed because it was absurd, I laughed because the full effect of this tragedy had not yet sent me into the deep & dark depression, where I would live in for the next couple of years. Mostly... I laughed because I just could not conceive this was actually happening. I remembered just the week before, coming home from work and seeing this beautiful girl, waiting up for me. We were happy, we were healthy. We were in love... And now, I was a 28 year old widower, about to say goodbye to the one soul I vowed to grow gray with.


I found myself at Jessie's memorial service with not one space of seating available. To my left and right were family. The rest: friends, new acquaintances, as well as many of the people who had gathered for our wedding. Perhaps the last time I had seen them all in one place, are now once again convened to say a final goodbye to my wife.

So I laughed. Probably not too much, though any amount, I felt; was out of place.

When you're closely related to the one who dies, you have...the honor, I guess, of sitting in the front row for the funeral. Best seats in the house. But there in the first seats, it doesn't allow you to see everyone behind you. Not that it was a big concern to me at the time, but you don't get to see the faces of friends that had gathered on that day Jessie and I said "I do." You don't see the mournful faces of extended family from all sides of the country, countries. Neighbors that we shared dinners with, now clustered together. Work colleagues, clients, an entire world that knew her; all in grief.

You can't grasp the whole picture the way you would be able to, if you were seated in the back row. So I sat up front, and held on to every word spoken by the several eulogists. As if by hearing their tributes to Jessie, I could somehow pretend that all the warmth and sheer brightness they spoke of, was still right there in front of me...

Maybe I was losing it, maybe I was already slipping into the dark - and perhaps lunacy as well - by laughing during such a moment. But, I guess if there was ever a time I needed a good...chuckle, that was it.

People smiled as they spoke about what an amazing person Jessie was. As they walked up to say goodbye, I can only imagine their smiles being erased with tears and sorrow...

It was a very public goodbye. At times, it felt like it was a bit too much. But many people that knew Jessie, worked with her or just met her, wanted to pay their respects. The rest of the goodbyes however, would be much more private. Going to sleep without her, meals without her, holidays alone, birthdays...lonely days, nights, hours. Remembering that nothing I am (I was) is without a trace memory of her. And so, I gave up on life...

Some losses are too big to deal with, too deep to cope with. Aided by a couple different grief counselors however, and hospital admissions for self extinction, antidepressant prescriptions and more counselors (though I felt like none of it was any help at first), I slowly made my own way back to...life, basically.

There have been several relapses into the dark - I don't think I'll ever be "cured" of depression. Though, it's been some time since the last one. Late summer last year actually, 7 months ago. Ever since then, I began writing more. A lot more, I mean. Memories, experiences, loss, happiness.

What I found out, is that by putting these feelings down on paper (not literally paper, but you get what I mean), I could purge some of this pain that's still inside me. Therapy, counselors, meds are things I've already been through. But in writing, I can admit thoughts that are too hard to speak, even to a trained professional, without breaking down once again.

People tell me everyday that I should write a book and get my story out there. My tales of brilliant happiness and untimely loss. But I know that nobody wants to read about my sad life that was so bright and wonderful, that turned into the worst fortune anyone can imagine. All I have is memories now, and sorrow. No one wants to read a book that starts with joy, then slides down into pain, not with out having there be another turn back to happiness once again, and my life hasn't gotten to that point yet.

So I write these pieces, for therapy. To let go of this ball of hurt that's still inside me, even if it may be a slow process. I write because I can never forget, I write because I can weep now without falling apart. I write because it is helping me move on...

I may have laughed at my wife's funeral, but there was never a moment that I didn't love her, that I don't miss her. And just as when she was alive, Jessie always found a way to make me smile. So in a way, it was well suited that this didn't fall short...as I said a final goodbye...

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