I don't like dead people.
I don't mean to say that I started disliking my grandmother when she passed away. I just don't like to be near the earthly remains.
I remember clearly when Nanny died, and having to go up to the coffin to pray. It just seemed absurd. And creepy.
So when Granny died, I refused to go into the room at the wake. Thus starting a tradition of avoiding bodies in coffins. I just decided that I didn't want my last memory of someone to be of them, motionless in an ornate wooden box. Since then, I avoided my great-great-aunt's wake, and the wakes or funerals of many a family friend, family of a friend, and friends of the family.
Actually, I can almost count on one hand how many opportunities I've had, but I know how life works; people die.
So tonight, when I went to Great-Uncle Ben's wake as the family representative (what with my parents overseas, and my brother in T-Dot), I had no choice. I had to walk into the room with his ten (yes, ten) kids, and I couldn't say, "Actually, your dead father's body creeps me out, so I'm just going to stay on this side of the room, thanks. No, cousins had to show me around to see all the other cousins I've never met or don't remember (the downside to growing up far from your relatives). And, of course, some of them were standing near the coffin.
So, I dealt with it. I will probably not choose to do that on a regular basis, but I sucked it up. I did not kneel by the coffin or spend time staring at him. I did notice that he looked better than the last I'd seen him -- in a picture from his daughter's wedding. But he also looked kind of plastic-y, and very thin.
Maybe I should have had more people die around me so I would be more comfortable with it.
Tomorrow is the funeral. I hope it will be a closed-casket service. The only thing worse than knowing the body is lying at the front of the church is seeing the body lying there.
I am selfish. I hope the service is short. I hope we don't have to stand by the grave for too long. I hope my uncle -- who came into town today, and is giving me a ride, is not going to spend too much time standing around chatting after.
I guess I need to sleep. Death vacations are tiring.