Why is it that whenever you walk into a funeral parlor there is always that one man, with the dark hair and dark suit, looking at you seemingly disapproving. "May I help you?", he'll ask. I know he is just trying to be somber, this being a serious place and all, but I always feel like I'm being busted doing something I shouldn't - like he thinks I've only walked in to steal flowers and flip over coffins or something.
One of my good friend's father died on Friday. He came home from work to find him in the backyard, laying at the foot of a ladder with his heart medicine laying at his feet. He tried to give him mouth-to-mouth, but it was too late. The flies had already come. The medical examiner told them when he got there that his Dad must have been gone at least 15 minutes by the time he was found.
He had been very sick, and eighteen months ago the doctors told him he only had six months to live. Tonight at the viewing you could see the grief on everyone's face, but you could also sense a kind of relief. It was a relief that he was finally without pain, and also thankfulness that they had him as long as they did.
It's kind of odd to be on the periphery of something like that - close enough that you can taste it a little in the back of your throat, but not close enough to really feel its full impact. I always walk away from those situations feeling a little more real, a little more in touch with life - like death grounds you in a way that nothing else can.