Professionally, I am challenged every day.
I have discovered strength, determination and emotions I never knew existed.
Despite the courage I have found within myself as a funeral director and mortician, today I was tugged right out of my polished shoes and silk scarf. I felt clouded and numb.
I wasn’t here.
Like a spectator watching from afar, my heart was heavy and my head faint.
Fifteen year old suicide victim, snug and sleeping in her white coffin, blanketed in satin.
Her long, dark lashes rested on her blushed cheeks, her full lips stitched in a still pout, her long hair fanned across her shoulders, my attempt at hiding the bruises from the rope. A single yellow rose in her hands; the sleeping beauty struck every nerve in my body.
Some souls linger. You can feel it. Metaphysicians and Mediums report that many souls refuse to accept their death and for some time they hover, confused, sad and afraid, not sure where to go next.
Other spirits are pleased to be freed and you do not feel a presence at all.
This young girl lingered, her presence strong and suffocating. I leant on the mortuary table for balance.
It was time for her funeral. Guests began to arrive, some red eyed and sobbing, others dressed to impress. The young girl’s family worked in media and the crowd of television stars packed the chapel.
When I passed the pen to them, asking kindly if they wouldn’t mind signing the attendance book, they almost threw the pen at me in anger as if it was I who tied the rope around the girl’s neck.
The service commenced with Eminem rapping through the speakers, her favourite music artist.
I could not, for the first time, understand it. Suicide is always confusing, but often, a reason can be identified.
This beautiful, young girl was much loved, successful in track athletics, living for the blue ribbon at the finishing line. Through the speeches from her friends and family, I learned she had many best friends who she shared late night phone calls, exchanging secrets, dreams, goals and desires. Teachers loved the beautiful young teenager, the local Fish and Chip shop owner gave her unlimited Cocoa-cola.
I could not feel anything when I usually do.
We will never know. Thirsty for answers I tucked into conversations pretending to wipe tables or collect empty water cups to try and piece the puzzle; the most I was given…
‘I didn’t think she was that upset.’
I wish I could have told you that it does get better, even if it hurts right now. Some times pain suffocates you and tempts you to believe there is no way out, but Honey, there is. Love. Faith. Family. Cheese. Chocolate. Coca-Cola (in your case).
I will always think of you with every sip of Coca-cola or when I hear Eminem’s “Hi, My name is…”