Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mommy What is a Coffin?

Munchkin is inquisitive.  That is putting it nicely.  He asks a million questions a day.   This morning we were driving to go let my brother's dog out while he is out of town and we spotted someone packing away Halloween Decorations. 

This prompted a series of questions...

Munchkin: Mommy, what's a coffin?
Me: It is something that you put someone in after they die.
Munchkin: Did you have to put daddy in a coffin?
Me: Yes baby.
Munchkin:  I don't think he would have liked that.
Me: Probably not.
Munchkin: What did Daddy's coffin look like?
Me: It was silver with blue lining
Munchkin: Oh, Well Count Dracula's was black with red inside.  Red is my favorite color. 

See while Munchkin has asked his questions in passing and has now moved on to putting together a lego set,  my brain is now trying to force back the memories that I have tucked away. Some memories  are just too much to bear and entirely too painful to keep remembering.   

The memories of walking into a funeral home and telling the person that I needed to make arrangements for my husband.  

The chaos that followed that I am not even prepared to write about, and I don't know if I ever will.

Getting up from the table and walking out of the room trying to find solace and wake myself from what surely was a nightmare.   Only I found myself lost in a room of coffins sobbing.  My father came and sat by me.  I sobbed so hard.  I could hardly breathe.  Even now, five years later, these memories are so powerful and nearly debilitating. 

I remember telling everyone that I highly doubted that we would be able to have an open casket because of the devastation of the accident. 

I remember the next day when his body arrived and I had to go confirm that it was him, crying with relief that they were able to make his face, head and neck presentable enough for an open casket.  I will forever be grateful to the organ procurement team for doing that.  As horrible as it was, I can't imagine if I had not been able to touch his hair one more time or rest my hand on the side of his face where it was made to fit perfectly.  The edge of my palm fit along his jaw and my fingers reached behind his ear to caress him softly.  It is one of the things that I miss most of him.  How our bodies were MADE to fit together.

Don't forget the memories of the wake.  Of actually SEEING Robert in a coffin.  The finality of that.   There really are not words to describe seeing your soul mate dead and cold.  Memories of  my family and our friends.  The eulogies that were delivered.  Seeing his sweet innocent students who were no bigger than munchkin is now, kneeling and praying the rosary.  Handing me hand written notes of how much they loved their "Mr. Bob"  For most of these kids, Mr. Bob dying was the first time that they had lost someone, and they all loved him. 

Memories of my laughing baby boy in my arms at the very end of the wake.   I was holding him near the coffin and he was laughing.  He was calling Daddy, Daddy and tried to leap from my eyes into the coffin on top of Robert.  I let him touch him and all he did is laugh.  I fainted, my dad caught me and Munchkin.  To say that attending my husband's wake was life altering does not nearly serve it justice.  It doesn't convey the weight of that cataclysmic point in time.

I realize that all Munchkin didn't understand then, he asks questions to try and understand now.  I also know that it is my job to help him understand the inexplicable.

He will take his cues from me and he will grow to know about the world from me.  So, now I will take a deep breath, wipe away my tears, pour another cup of coffee and go build a lego castle.  I will wait for the next series of questions and until then, I will keep myself in the present moment.