The funeral home was filled with people and flowers. Could you see all the flowers, Rob? They were everywhere. The people at the funeral home started placing them all around the room, but I didn’t want that. I wanted the flowers around your casket. I wanted people to know how much you were loved by simply seeing all those flowers surrounding—almost embracing—your coffin.
I was impressed by the number of friends you had…the many lives you had impacted. And you were only twenty-and-a-half-years-old. Can you imagine the impact you could have had if you had lived for ninety years? Why weren’t you given that chance?
We brought the photo album with us to the funeral home, and I’m glad we did. Instead of looking at your dead, bruised body, your friends and ours were able to see—through pictures—the smile that was so often on your face and the twinkle that was almost always in your eyes. In several photographs, you were giving me hugs—for birthday gifts, or Christmas—and I treasure those pictures. They will always remind me of the many hugs and mutual love we shared.
I walked, I talked, I did what I had to do. Your friends broke my heart. Their faces showed the shock of coming face-to-face with mortality. They all thought they were invincible—just as you did. They don’t know what to do with the proof that they’re not.
Alan asked if the coffin could be opened long enough for your friends to place the baseball, basketball and nerf ball in it. And your shorts—those ragged old jean shorts that you loved. If you’d had a say, you probably would have preferred to be buried in them. But, a mother has to say ‘no’ occasionally.
Your friends all signed the balls and the shorts, so you could take a part of them with you. I hurt for them . . . I hurt for me . . . I hurt for Dad and Lori. Life hurts so damn bad right now . . . I could scream from the agony.
I asked Holly, our Associate Pastor, to close the visitation with a prayer and a reading of the Twenty-third Psalm. She started reading the verse, and her voice choked with tears. She couldn’t go on. My heart reached out to her and loved her for caring. I got up from the chair where I was sitting, walked over, put my arm around her and began to read the Psalm. My mother says I’m very strong. I don’t think so. I think I’m walking in a fog. I’m acting and reacting, but if I stopped to feel, I would die.
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