The A-Wakening

Today was my grandmother's wake. Although I'm twenty-two, I've never been to a wake previously. In the past couple of weeks, I've watched seasons three and four of Six Feet Under, which has given me a warped perception of death, and the death industry in particular. As it turns out, funeral homes are just like they're portrayed on television - and that scares me.

Repeatedly, I heard that my grandmother looked beautiful. For me, she just looked different. Where were her whiskers, anyway? She was pumped full of strange fluids to temporarily preserve her body long enough for us to peek and have conversations in her general presence.

I'll admit to being taken aback by the informal conversations that occurred around me. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was interesting to me how people, myself included, are capable of switching back and forth between mourning and pleasantries. Throughout the event, I was commonly greeted with, "Congratulations!" While this salutation is, of course, in reference to my recent graduate status, it took me several times before I accepted the greeting without wincing after initially expecting expressions of condolences.

Apparently, I'm to be a pallbearer at the funeral tomorrow. Granted, she's a tiny woman, but I'm worried as it looks to be a heavy casket. To make matters worse, my fellow bearers are my cousins, and collectively, we comprise the youngest people in attendance. We are so going to drop this coffin.

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