It was about one in the afternoon, and I felt the tears in my chest. The tears that lay trapped from days of my forcing them down as not to upset my other family members who were also grieving for my grandmother who had just passed. I was at the funeral home, and having never been to an open casket viewing before, I was a bit terrified of looking into the casket at a woman that I had loved more than the moon and stars.I tried to picture in my mind what she would look like now that her soul had left her cancer stricken body behind. I waited to be one of the last to view her as I was still contemplating whether I really wanted to look. I wanted to remember her the way she was the last time I saw her, full of life, love and humor. I wanted to remember her smell and the way she looked at me, and spoke to me as if I was all that mattered at that moment. I didn’t want to see her in the dress that I knew she would be wearing, the dress that she had picked out especially for my wedding and had looked so beautiful in when she walked into the church. I was afraid if I saw her wearing it in death that the new memory would replace the old. But the time had come, it was my turn to have one last moment with my grandmother.
I walked over to the casket and looked inside. She looked beautiful, and peaceful and just the way she did when she walked into the church. I saw that my mother had placed the small angel bear I had given her when she was in the hospital into the casket near her hand, as she requested. She had always loved angels.
As I stood and looked at her I felt the tears that I had been withholding, start to fall. I could no longer hold them back for fear of what others would think. I could no longer be the strong one in the family that holds it all together in grief. My grandmother’s light had gone out of my life and I would forever be changed. So when my husband stepped up behind me, I let him take me in his arms and hold me. I used his warmth and strength to get me through the rest of that painful day.
To my grandmother Peggy Cory, may she rest in peace.