Turn Left Here

Was thinking back today of when a coworker of mine, an older nurse, had lost her husband of forty something years. She had just returned to work after taking some time off to grieve her loss. We were all particularly apprehensive when she came back as she had lost her son only a year before and had been left very angry and sad over how she felt the funeral home had handled his wake and burial. I was afraid that memory would weigh heavily on her current grieving situation.  I was happy to find her then in good spirits. She told me that after her disappointing experience with her son, she had chosen another funeral home, one we often saw used by families at the hospice hospital unit. The funeral director, David, more often than not came in to pick up and transport himself when needed, and so, after many such encounters we had all gotten to know and felt comfortable with him. So it came as no surprise when her husband died that it was David she called to make arrangements. That night, when I asked how the funeral had gone, she regaled me with this story…

I was dreading the finality of the actual burial. I had been taking care of him for so long that dealing with the funeral had just been an extension of all that, and I don’t think his death had really sunk in until I was getting into my car that day. The day itself was lovely, sun was out, not too hot, and so many of Bill’s friends and family came. There was such a turn out that the procession to the cemetery was quite long. David of course led the way in the hearse, then my sister and I in my car, then all the rest behind us. I swear, it seemed like everyone we had ever known was there. Then David starts out leading the way and we all head towards the cemetery. And then, at some point, David turned left, so of course, we all turned left. I didn’t think anything of it at the time as I’m sure he must know the way in his sleep, so there we all are, tagging right along behind him. As we drive on, we find ourselves in a neighborhood full of houses and kids riding their bikes, but still I don’t think anything of it because I just assume David knows a short cut or something to the cemetery. Well, as we drive, stop, drive, stop, turn, drive, stop, we finally all turn left into a cul de sac. Now keep in mind the long flow of cars in this funeral procession, all following along, and probably thinking at this point, where the hell is Margaret going to bury him?! This is when David stopped, got out of the hearse and just stood there and shrugged his shoulders at me…he was lost! I couldn’t believe it. I burst out laughing and couldn’t stop. This is just the kind of practical joke my husband Bill would play on me! I can just see him whispering into David’s ear..turn left here. He would have quite enjoyed himself with that one! Oh, Bill was quite the prankster.  David sheepishly led us all out of there, but I tell you, it really did my heart good, as I stood at the grave, thinking Bill had done that as his final goodbye.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. daodeqi says:

    where’s the like button? Thank you, very heart warming

  2. meKathy says:

    Thank you, much appreciated!

  3. Jake Owensby says:

    Kathleen, I’ve done lots of funerals. This reminded me of some tender times with grieving families. Something would happen or someone would say something that reminded everyone of the departed. Laughter would break out and the love everyone had filled the space. Thanks for this sweet story.

  4. meKathy says:

    You are very welcome! Thank you for reading and sharing.

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