It was a nice funeral.
In the Bahamas we have this strange habit, and I don’t know how many other societies do this, where we let the body repose. This basically means that the dead body is made up to go on display and just sits there in the coffin.
This is seriously freaky shit. The coroner basically becomes a taxidermist. Sometimes they make the face look all rubbery and fat and they put on too much make up. In this case, with my grandmother, who died in December, they made her up so that she looked like she was still alive. I swear that I saw her breathe.
Why they do this, I will never know or understand.
The service was interesting. Nice, as they say. This was the first time that I stepped foot inside a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall since I left that religion five years ago. Nothing had changed. Nothing but the paint on the walls and some of the plants lining the driveway, but that same feeling was there.
I felt a lot of eyes on me though. Judging, probing eyes looking for flaws. It’s so awkward now.
Mum had converted to Jehovah’s Witness in her later years, I’m not sure exactly when. Let’s say the last fifteen years or so. At the time, I was one of them too, so it was a happy day when she got baptized.
When I left the church, she never cut me off like the others did. She always said she was praying for me everynight and when I grew my hair and braided it she never liked it, but at least she talked to me.
Somehow she found a way to stay in the JW church and get her cake too. Birthday cake that is. As JW’s aren’t supposed to celebrate birthdays or Easter, or Christmas or just about anything, she was able to keep one foot in the door and the other with her ‘worldly’ family till she died. A real smart woman. I still wonder why she converted. I wonder what her reasons were. Guess I can only speculate now.
Even after all this time, I still don’t know what to feel. Death is a funny thing. To get through a day of this life we build up walls of clichés, throwing around little stock phrases to stand for actual thought, to simulate actual feeling. Death breaks that wall down and leaves you as you really are. Naked, alone and afraid.
I never know what to say at funerals. I never know what to do. All I have is a terminated relationship and a hell of a lot of questions. Could I have done more? The answer is always yes. Did I ever want to?
That one takes a bit longer to answer.