I've never actually seen a dead person that wasn't in a coffin or a picture. John pretty much looked like he was asleep, minus the shaking that was the calling card of Parkinson's disease. His hand was still warm and his body relaxed further while I sat there with him.
I remembered reading that the body should not be disturbed so as to give the soul time to leave, so I sat there until I felt like he had really and truly left the building. While I sat there, I talked to him about what I was feeling-and was surprised to realize that the grief I felt was for me not having my Uncle-I was truly glad he was freed from his body that had failed so.
Is that always the way of things? Is grief an emotion for the living and not the dead? If so, that doesn't make grief seem very noble at all, does it?
I admitted freely I'd rather sit with John's body than go tell any family members, and there was no hurry. Grief can wait a few minutes more. I told Mom and held her and comforted her, and went to Daddy and told him it was OK to cry. My parents are neither one very comfortable with crying, so I led the way with some more tears and hugs, until it felt like it was enough for them.
I thought about how people put quantity values on tears-"she hardly shed a tear" but I know those few tears cost my parents dearly, and was a fitting tribute to a man they loved.
A few nights ago I dreamt John was at a party with me and was fat and happy. I gave him a hug in the dream and I knew at the time it was him telling me how he wanted to be remembered. Mom agreed with me when I told her.
A few months ago I moved everything out of the trust and back into John's estate-when he's gone, I'm done and back to my own devices. I will stay in Oklahoma and take care of my family still, but I am also ready to have my own life too. No one ever intended for things to get the way they did, but they did, and since they did, that must be how they should have been. But I'm ready for a new direction too. John's off on a new adventure and so shall I be-and probably neither of us knows which way we are headed.
John was a good man, a kind man, without a mean bone in his body. I know Dottie was waiting for him, I could feel her in the room with us, and there is always that part of me that wants to go be with them. But now is not the time.
John, I miss your smile and your quiet humor....I miss you.