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Death Changes Everything

I look back upon other deaths in my life and see them differently. My father didn't want any fuss to be made, no viewing, no ceremony. He just wanted to be cremated, and be done with it.

Gennie and James Deane age 85 and 90
Both my parents had expressed this as their choice for years. Yet, when Dad died, it was immediately obvious that, though we would respect the wish for cremation, we would still go through the nice dressed up appearance, the new tie to go with Dad's favorite suit, the make up for his face to look healthy and happy.

Though, I thought that smile was probably broader than any my father had ever made, it was still better in appearance than what it might have been. There was no fancy, expensive coffin, but a temporary one. I don't recall what it was called, they had a special name for it. Sturdy, yet disposable, something that would burn with him, for little expense. Perhaps some sort of cardboard?

We went against Dad's wishes for the sake of our Mom's comfort. Her grief was so intense, we did this to help give her some closure, to help her face the fact that his physical presence would not continue to be with her, to help her make that transition into widowhood as best as possible. It gave her the chance to be dressed up for him, for her to say goodbye. After all, he died when she was asleep. When we woke her, she tried to revive him. Perhaps she thought she might have prevented his death if she had not been sleeping. We like to think that going through with a ceremony, a priest, a church as she was brought up with, as was familiar to her, would help to bring some sort of comfort to her.

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