This past Saturday I did what no child looks forward to. I attended my mother’s funeral. Upon returning home to Cleveland I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to the various situations: being in my mom’s old room, the one she died in, viewing her body for the first time at the funeral home, going to the funeral and hearing what people had to say about her life. Going into I was bracing myself to be overwhelmed.
I suppose I will start with my feelings upon my return home. I pulled up to my house (where I lived while attending high school). When I went into my mothers room, I felt oddly comfortable, like a warmth was over the room that I couldn’t place my finger on. I sat on my mother’s bed ready to cry, but no tears folded from my eyes that night, only this perplexed feeling that lead me to think more about death. Was my mother watching me? Do people remain conscious afterlife? Was she trying to talk to me, tell me everything would be okay, place comfort on my heart? I’m not very superstitious, I don’t even keep up with the latest astrological zodiac gossip of the week, but that night, while sitting in my mothers bed I felt no pain, only comfort. I found myself returning to her room (if only for a few seconds) a couple dozen times over the course of the weekend.
One of the hardest parts of having someone close to you die is dealing with all the people who are sad for you. Even at the times when I wasn’t sad, people expected me to be when seeing me, which caused me to dwell on the pain more than I would of liked to. I also heard from people that I either didn’t know or haven’t heard from in a couple years. I have mixed feelings about this. Why do some feel the need to only interact with people on birthdays and when someone dies? Do you really care about me if it takes the celebration of birth or grievance of death for me to hear from you? I don’t want to confuse this feeling with all of the support I was given throughout what was quite literally the hardest/most painful experience of my life. I really did feel like I had so many people to go to, so many people to talk to. It was nice– thank you all.
The worst part of the week, besides the actual moment that I found out my mother died, was being forced to sit through the sermon that the pastor gave at my mother’s funeral. For some unbeknown reason, the pastor thought it was necessary to preach a fire and brimstone message as my mother’s body laid peacefully in front on me. The pastor not only explained how gays and lesbians were going to hell, but he also gave anecdotes about the “poor lazy kids” in the hood. It was one of the most homophobic, republican and conservative sermons I have ever heard. Needless to say, I was livid and thought it to be the most inappropriate part of the whole week.
Outside of this moment every other part of the funeral went smoothly. There were no “Mr. Brown from Tyler Perry” ghetto moments. No one tried to get in the casket in disbelief, no one made a dramatic scene that alluded to SNL sketches. I’m not sure what any of these things were possibilities in my mind, but I’m just glad that my mother is now officially resting in peace.
My mom actually wanted to be cremated. I look forward to spreading her ashes in the ocean once I get to Africa in January. I have to check on what the rules are to that. If not the ocean then one of the mountains (possibly Table Mountian in the cape) will be a suitable resting place also.