As some of you may know, Thursday was the viewing for my cousin. We got here on Wednesday, Thursday was the viewing, Friday was a football game, Saturday was the hike and his celebration of life, and tomorrow is his burial.
It was all very organized and very nice, but dead bodies still freak me out. I thought that I had been done with crying and that I had done my mourning, but all that was thrown out the window when I looked into the sanctuary and saw his face over the edge of the casket. It was hard to hold it together. I watched as every single one of my cousins, aunts, and uncles formed tears in the corners of their eyes. Then we went into the sanctuary and sat down for the service. The casket was closed and we listened as his friends and some family stood up to speak on their memories of him ranging from him being an “annoying little brother” to how he pushed his friends to be the best that they could be. There were words said by the pastor, then people went up to view him, say goodbye, and sign his casket.
When my time to go up came, I held the hands of some of my cousins, and looked straight at my cousin’s peaceful face. He looked like he was made of wax, like he was sleeping. It made me sick to my stomach to see him laying there and know that it was just his dead body. His soul was no longer there. It was just a body, but it was the body of my cousin, someone I loved, someone that I’d hugged innumerable times, someone that I shared many memories with. It hurt me to see just a body. It hurt me that his soul was no longer there. It hurt me that I could no longer compete with him for anything, because he was always very competitive. I signed his casket as quickly as I could, and went back to my seat.
After the ceremony was over, we went to a reception area for refreshments and I asked some of his friends to tell me stories about him, and I learned more about the amazing person that my cousin was. In a way, the whole day was like torture, but it was also a benefit to me. Everything, everyone reminded me of him. Seeing his body and knowing that it was just a body and knowing that it was all real was closure for me. After that day, everything has been easier. Seeing his picture no longer makes me feel sick. Thinking of him no longer makes me sad. I remember the fun that we had and that those memories are mine to treasure forever.
Out of this experience, I’ve also become closer to a few of my cousins and I’ve gained friends. Even though the loss is sad, I’m glad to be able to see the things gained.