Saying Goodbye

He just looked asleep. I couldn’t get over that fact. He’d wake up any moment, now.

“Do you want to hold his hand or anything?” Mom asked.

I shook my head. “I want to remember the last time I hugged him on Sunday, not… this.” I didn’t want to know if he felt cold and clammy or stiff or anything other than warm and alive. I continued to try and clean the floor without touching him as Mom kept remarking on how peaceful he looked. I couldn’t tell if she was trying to reassure me or herself. Her friend Donna chimed in agreements occasionally, but remained a largely background presence as she shuttled the red-stained rags out to the garage and brought in clean white ones.

Once the floor was as clean as we could manage, Mom ushered us all into the sterile living room to sit on the overstuffed white couch and wait for the mortuary van to arrive.

The men who showed up were young – the same early twenties as myself – wearing somber suits with expressions to match. I avoided their sympathetic glance my way.

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