I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this.
At least, that’s what I think to myself as I pull up to the house. I’m very nervous. Ken called just about an hour ago. He was supposed to meet me at the funeral home, but Hospice told him it could be any time now, and it’s probably best that he doesn’t leave her. I told him it was no big deal; I’d come to the house. After all, I do it all the time. But this time is a little different.
Susan isn’t dead yet. She’s dying. But I knew this two months ago. Two months ago I met Susan for the first time when we buried her mom. She was well into her nineties. She lived a long, good life. A life I’m sure she’d wish for her daughter. But Susan isn’t going to travel down the same path. Because Susan is dying.
For a moment, I don’t think I can walk into the house. It’s small from the outside, one story. I know the layout of this kind of house. It will have a kitchen that has the living room directly off of it. Susan will probably be in one of those Hospice beds right in the living room. Right where we will make arrangements; her funeral arrangements. I walk up to the door.
Ken greats me with a sad smile. He invites me in. I was right, I enter right into the kitchen, but I’m relieved when I peek into the living room and Susan isn’t there. I feel bad that I’m relieved.
Everything goes as planned. We talk about the visitation and funeral mass. She will be buried right next to her mother. Right next to a grave so freshly dug that the earth hasn’t settled. I hug Ken and leave. I wait for the call.
The call comes two days later. I tell Ken not to worry about the details. We have everything planned. I start to make phone calls. It doesn’t seem right, seeing Susan in her casket. It doesn’t seem right, that Ken is standing over his wife’s body. It doesn’t seem right, that Susan didn’t have the time that her mother had. Three days after the call Susan is placed to rest next to her mom. The day is cold, but there is no wind. Ken didn’t want to see her casket lowered, so he left the cemetery. I don’t understand what he’s going through, but I think that I get it. Her casket is lowered and when it reaches the bottom of the grave, I realize; I’m never going to get used to this.