I didn’t want to go inside the room with the coffin

I stood outside the room with the coffin and was asked if I wanted to go inside. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to see the body. I thought about my decision and hoped I wouldn’t later regret it, as if refusing to see the dead was like refusing an expensive gift. A gift of what though? Wisdom? Truth? Appreciation for life?

I think about what I would have seen, a pale wrinkled face in a bright and gaudy dress. The dress is blue in my mind and the body’s lips are bright red. If I had decided to see the body in the casket would I now remember? Would it be this real?

Does not seeing, but imagining bring more life to the image? Or more nothing, more imaginings and questions? My life is one where I refuse to go into the room to view the body because I don’t always need to see. I need to imagine.

I’m not talking about death or experiences. Sometimes creatives need to stand outside the crowded room to help us see what we’re really looking at.

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11 thoughts on “I didn’t want to go inside the room with the coffin

  1. when my father suddenly died i didn’t see him and i was 7th pregnant …from that day till now when i see his picture it transfer to me hate because it really show me that he is no longer with us …and i hated the idea to reduce him in just a photo or last look when he is dead. .. sorry for disturb

  2. Gripping post.

    Viewing my dad at the funeral didn’t change anything for me. No matter what, I love him. In my head I still see his bright smile, hear his happy laugh and feel his strong arms hugging me.

  3. Hmm… I’m trying to think of other examples of where we might ‘stand outside the room’. Does looking upon something directly fully narrow our imagination? I think there are some cases, too, where doing so might expand it.

  4. it’s like the line from “jaws” when the mayor asks chief brody why he lives on an island when he’s afraid of the water. brody says, “it’s only an island if you look at it from the water.” sometimes you have to get off the island to know that you’re on an island.

  5. I found being able to know the person had found some measure of peace towards the end was important. My dad made some amends to those he hurt and my father-in-law spent part of one last day on the farm on a special Alberta April day.

  6. I don’t go “look” either if I don’t have to. I’m a stand-outside-the-door-creative, too, I guess. Loved how you expressed this!

  7. I’m going to be puzzling about this all day now! On one hand, by being in the place and experiencing at first hand, you have the visceral tangible effects on the body and soul to experience. On the other, what is behind the door of our imaginings is usually either substantially more technicolor glorious or terrible depending on what it is we are thinking of. Inner world? Outer world? How to create fusion of both?

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