About six months after Kesner died, I found a file of beautiful pictures of Kesner and his ex-girlfriend on his computer; I had been using his laptop for school. The file of pictures was dated before we met, but it was hard to see. My friend Khristi was kind to sit with me as I looked at each photo. They had been very happy together at one point; and in love
But their relationship was over.
Once Kesner and I opened our hearts to one another we both fell so deeply that there was no turning away from that. However, seeing the beautiful pictures made me wonder what she thought about their break up; maybe it wasnt over for her…
I offer this to provide context for what I am about to write.
Mom and I were on our way to the funeral home on Friday afternoon when we heard from Kesner’s brother. The family was not going to be able to make it to the private viewing of the body. The funeral home had allotted 30 minutes for the viewing and they weren’t going to make it in time. It appeared that mom and I would be the only ones going to see Kesner’s body that day.
When we arrived, the funeral director greeted us with a strange welcome:
“Family?” he asked.
“Yes, I am his girlfriend.”
”O yea, I remember you from the house,” he said.
Apparently he had been the one to pick up Kesner’s body from the house the week prior. I was still being detained by the police during that time so it was all a blur. I didn’t recognize him right away.
“You’ll have to wait to see the body until the family arrives ” he said. “The family is not able to make it, we just heard from them,” mom replied.
“Family is on their way, you’ll have to wait,” he said.
We took a seat.
A few minutes later four people walked in the door, three women and a man. One of the women was Kesner’s ex.
“Hi, I’m Alice…” She said to the funeral director. And in that instant I got it; I got what everyone had been trying to tell me all week. She had been involved. Helping. Cleaning. Planning. While I was out in the country, she had been at Kesners house involved in the details. And it was clear, by the way that she greeted the funeral director, that this was not their first conversation.
She greeted me and mom cordially and did not seem surprised to see us. Just then the funeral director said : “now that the family is here, you may come in and view the body.” I started to get out of my chair but I felt mom subtly grab my arm and pull me down. “We’ll let them go in first” she said to the director.
They walked in, spent a few moments, and then walked out. They walked out of the door and it appeared that they were leaving. But then the man who was with them came back in. The man was Drew/Angel.
Drew/Angel apologized to me and explained that his wife is friends with Kesner’s ex and that she had been asked to join her that day. He had gotten a call at the last minute and decided to come along also. He didn’t have to explain, Trenton is a very small town…
I was thankful he was there. He always seemed to be present during crucial times, and this was about to be crucial. This is why I call him Angel.
So Drew/Angel left the women outside and he came back in so that he could escort mom and me in to see Kesner’s body.
I stood at the threshold of the doors of the small funeral sanctuary, and suddenly it was like a flashback. I could see Kesner’s body straight ahead of me, just as I had a week prior when I stood in the doorway of that room on the second floor. But this time he was clothed. Suited. Laying in a casket.
My knees collapsed beneath me, and if it had not been for mom and Drew/Angel on either side I would have fallen to the ground in that moment. They propped me up and I stood for a moment, frozen.
“We’re right here, we’ll walk when you’re ready to walk” Drew/Angel said.
I began to inch toward the body and they inched with me. When we got up close, this strange mix of emotions came over me.
Who was this? This wasn’t Kesner. He didn’t look the same. The funeral home had done the best job they could, but a lot happens to a dead body in ten days. It was rotting. When I found Kesner he was beautiful in death. He still looked like his beautiful strong self. But this was not Kesner. Kesner’s spirit had left this body and this was a corpse. His eyes were sunken and black and blue, his skin was dark, and he was covered in thick brown make up. That helped calm my emotion. Kesner was not in this place.
After a few moments we walked back out into the waiting area. Mom suggested I take a seat to collect myself before driving to our next destination. from where we sat, I could see through a window into the office of the funeral director. He was sitting on a chair looking at something; a picture. From my view through the window I could see that it was a picture of Kesner and his ex girlfriend.
After a minute or two he got up and went back into the sanctuary where the body was. I followed him and stood in the doorway and watched him as he put that picture in the casket with the body.
I was horrified.
I stood in the doorway and looked at him in sheer and utter horror. I wanted him to see me. I wanted him to see that I saw him do that. And he did.
and he didn’t care…
He looked smug, tickled by the whole scenerio and his felt sense of power in that moment…
Just then, as I stood there staring at him - stunned – Drew/Angel and mom came to get me. Mom said “let’s go, don’t give him the benefit of knowing he’s hurt you. That’s what they want, a scene.” Drew/Angel said “remember what is real. Remember what you know in your heart.”
I began to calm down. Yes, I thought. Let’s not cause a scene.
I knew what was real.
Drew/Angel walked mom and me to our car. As we drove away a feeling came over me: this was not going to be good… I had been away doing an array of healing things since June 9th and now here I was smacked in the face with some drama. This was my precursor to the funeral, I needed to prepare myself.
Later in the evening my friends were appropriately pissed about the picture and even offered to take it out of the casket during the public viewing of the body the following morning. I appreciated the sentiment but I was ok.
That was not Kesner in that box. That was a corpse. A place where Kesner had once been, but was no longer. So her picture could stay in that box and rot under ground with that corpse.
Í would be ok.
After all, I had a tree. A living and growing tree. A tree that Kesner and I planted together and a tree that will one day bear fruit.
I had HOPE,
so I was so ok.
© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011